This week the Chimps have all been very playful. Earlier in the week Jambo’s group were all running around and playing together. Genet and Jambo were enjoying pulling each other off the shelves by their feet and then play biting each other.
Jomar and Flynn were running huge circuits of the outdoor run chasing each other. All of the group enjoyed playing in fresh straw in their indoor enclosure, and Josie could not be seen for a while as she was being covered up by Lottie throwing the fresh straw all over her, with much delight and giggles from Josie.
Later in the week it was Benji and daughter Tuli’s turn to play and they spent all afternoon chasing each other, with Tuli trying to trip Benji over when he walked in front of her and this ended in one large ball of fur and lots of laughter and happy panting from both of them, followed by a long afternoon nap because they had worn each other out.
This week, our keepers have been experimenting with some exciting new enrichment for the chimps. At Jambo’s group we have used some old reels of material to create “hammocks” in the beds areas for the chimps to sleep in; these hammocks go some way to imitating the natural sleeping environment for wild chimps as they create soft nests in the trees out of foliage.
We try to stimulate all the senses when giving enrichment and Danny, Tommy and Kip were lucky enough to get some old CDs, which our chimps often use to see their own reflection. Tommy and Kip however, found something far more fun to use them for and started a game of air hockey using the CDs as pucks!
Twycross Zoo also received a generous donation of exotic fruit from Tesco this week, so all the Apes have been puzzling over some new flavours and textures and have enjoyed the challenge of trying to get into whole coconuts. Some found it easier than others, and Noddy was carrying hers around for nearly two days!
Chimpanzees are extremely good climbers and in the wild spend the majority of their time up in the trees.
Here at Twycross Zoo we are trying to replicate this as much as possible. The latest phase of development to one of our chimp enclosures has just been started.
Danny, Tommy and Kip’s indoor enclosure has had new branches and logs fixed into the floor to create the beginnings of a new climbing structure. This, however, is only the start as in the coming weeks more branches and ropes will be attached higher up in the enclosure. This will allow these three chimps to utilize the space within their enclosure much more than ever before.
Danny in particular is sure to enjoy playing and displaying on these new branches.
Photo: Danny the Chim
Chimpanzees are known for their tool use and here at the zoo we try to give our animals the opportunities to express natural behaviours such as this.
One way in which we try to do this is by providing them with log feeders filled with honey, yoghurt or mashed food for the animals to use sticks or their fingers to try and get at the contents.
Our chimpanzees are provided with a variety of enrichment types and the keepers try to ensure that all the senses are covered. They enjoy boomer balls, puzzle feeders, herbs sprinkled on bedding, different textured materials and even watching a lava lamp!
We have had nearly a foot of snow at Twycross Zoo this week and although many of our chimps prefer to take shelter in the warm, some act like big kids and enjoy going out and playing in the snow! – You might be surprised to hear that Jambo still enjoys going out and surveying his territory in the cold despite his alopecia!
Some chimps, especially Louis and Choppers, enjoy scooping up big piles in their hands and bringing it inside to eat. Take a look at our facebook page to see how much Louis is enjoying his own snowy snack!
In the cold weather the keepers make every effort to keep all the chimps snug and warm inside their houses. Extra heaters get put in the inside areas, as well as lots of extra bedding and even some blankets, however, most of our chimps prefer to keep warm by getting close to each other during grooming sessions and exercising by swinging on the ropes.
We hope you are all enjoying the snow as much as our chimps!
Over the last couple of weeks the zoo has received several generous donations of Christmas trees. We use these trees for enrichment as they have a pungent smell which is something new for the chimps to experience. Some of the chimps, especially Lottie, even enjoy stripping the bark off the trunks.
We have had a few sunny days over the last week and the chimps sit in certain areas of their enclosures, which act as suntraps. However, with the changing weather we might see them out playing in the snow over the next few weeks!
Benji, Tuli, and Rose have recently moved to their new home at the bottom chimpanzee house.
When we first let them into the main indoor enclosure all three chimps were very cautious and alarm-calling, as you can imagine moving house can be a bit daunting for them. Surprisingly, Benji was the most nervous!
We gave them some time to settle into life in this new indoor enclosure before being given access to the outdoor enclosure. They were all very excited about this and we have been seeing some really positive behaviour from them.
Both Benji and Rose are growing in confidence, so much so that this is the most confident we have ever seen Rose. Tuli is climbing and playing a lot and seems to really enjoy her new home.