Fun with Spray Bottles

Fun with Spray Bottles

This week, the chimps received spray bottles full of water and juice as novel new enrichment items. At first just spraying the water into their own mouths (as we expected), Patti began spraying another caregiver and I with water as we walked by. As this was the first time we’d ever seen this, we paused and engaged her for a bit. She was just spraying our legs and hands at first but as I knelt down to talk to Patti, she sprayed me right between the eyes. She seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself as she harmlessly harassed us with the spray bottle. It was great to see Patti enjoying an enrichment item that allowed her to have control of a situation, as our goal is to give the chimps as much control over their own lives as possible.

Later we saw the true ingenuity of the chimps when one of them dismantled the spray bottle and stuck the straw into the spout of one of their water fountains, extending the mouthpiece a few inches. Though we didn’t see who put the straw in there, we did catch Thiele drinking out of the fountain through the straw. Surprised, we had to double take to really believe what we were seeing. Thiele seemed so casual about it, as if she were inventing new things all the time. We didn’t expect that this simple enrichment could be used in so many different, unique ways and bring so much enjoyment. This is definitely enrichment to be repeated!

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Kaleigh, Caregiver/Social Media Editor