Turning heads with tools

Turning heads with tools

#Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted on 14th July 2015 by Media Relations

Although the weather of late has been a little cold and rainy, it has not deterred our Chimpanzees from doing what they do best.

Whether that’s relaxing in the sun (when weather permits), foraging for food or grooming one another, they are always in their element.

We encourage natural behaviours such as these within our Chimpanzee community, as it allows them to simply be themselves.

One natural behaviour in particular is always turning heads – tool use.

 In fact, Chimpanzees are known to use tools in the wild to help them get to termites that can often be found inside mounds of mud. By poking holes in a mound and pushing sticks through, they are able to extract the termites without destroying the nest AND don’t get bitten in the process.

This is a great example of just how intelligent Chimpanzees are and our group is no exception.

Although we don’t use termites, we do provide them with puréed fruit, vegetables or even vegemite (as a special treat) that is locked away inside a rock that they need to use sticks to reach.

This might sound tricky, but our Chimps are experts at it!

If this wasn’t enough to surprise you, some of the Chimpanzees have discovered that a certain type of stick will get them more puree. For example, infants such as Fumo will use a blunt stick, whereas the older and more experienced Chimpanzees will use sticks that still have leaves on the end or even chew the end of the stick to get more puree on it.

This not only shows just how intelligent Chimpanzees are, but also that they are very capable problem solvers and will learn from observing others, much like the younger Chimps will learn the best way to get to the puree as they watch the older members of the community.

- Primate Keeper, Ben McDonogh