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Spider Monkey Enrichment

Exhibit floor was flooded for 4 hours to create an exciting change to their environment. The target behavior is exploration and play.


The exhibit floor was slowly flooded with water to see if the monkeys would become more arboreal. At first the monkeys skirted the edges, but as the water advanced, they began playing in and using it in different ways. Two of them discovered how to make the end of the hose squirt water by putting their fingers over it. Some would swing through the exhibit on the ropes with their feet dangling in the water.

While over or in the water they kept either a hand or tail firmly attached to a rope, branch or part of the fencing.

Although most of the monkeys did not use the water purely for play, it certainly elicited a number of different activities including watching it, drinking it, dunking monkey biscuits, reaching in it for food and hand washing.

Importantly, it increased the overall activity of the monkeys, who instead of spending time sitting or lying on the ground, had to step over the hose, walk along the dry rim, and eventually move up to the higher fencing, hammocks, ropes, and tree branches.

Just before the 4th hour of the enrichment activity, the keeper threw raisins and peanuts into the water. As expected this got everyones attention. While a majority of them clung onto the fence and reached in with their hands as far as they could, Blackhead (shown left) made it all the way to the middle of the pool where she had undisputed access to the treats. She used her tail to firmly hang onto the nearby vertical fire hose rope.