Playtime with Thiele

Playtime with Thiele

Thiele spends most of her time interacting with the other chimps, as opposed to the caregivers. She’ll give us a grunt and shake of the head to acknowledge us when we walk past but besides that she pretty much does her own thing. However, when I arrived this morning, I was delighted to find Thiele in a startlingly friendly mood. As soon as I walked into the Chimp House, she got my attention by vigorously shaking her head and grunting in my direction. As I approached her, she began banging her fists on the ground and bobbing her head up and down — her characteristic invitation to play. Well, I certainly wasn’t going to say no to that! I immediately responded in kind, bouncing my head up and down and shaking my fists at her, with a big chimp smile on my face. We did this for a couple of minutes before she finally stood up and began running around, nodding her head at me to follow. I chased her around the side of the enclosure and then back again, every so often hearing a faint, grumbling chuckle escape her lips. At one point, she backed up to me and pressed her butt against the mesh between us, bending forward so she could reach between her legs and wiggle her fingers at me. After about ten minutes, she finally sat down and let out a great sigh, and I understood that the play session was over. I thanked her profusely for granting me with such a rare opportunity, and as I turned to go, I heard a grunt behind me and turned to see Thiele give me one last head shake, perhaps her thanking me as well. I have to say, there simply is no better way to start the day than that.

Rachel, Senior Caregiver