Posted on 11/06/2019 at 12:11 PM by Blog Author
By Jennifer Penas
Blank Park Zoo is home to a troop of 10 Japanese macaques – three males and seven females, ranging in age from two to 28 years old. Ever wonder what these monkeys do all day? Here’s a look at a typical Wednesday with our troop!
Mornings begin inside our holding building where the monkeys lounge and groom each other while a keeper prepares their exhibit for the day – cleaning, setting up enrichment, and putting out their AM diet. Each monkey is then shifted onto exhibit either singly or in small groups and is rewarded for this brief separation with a grape or other small snack. This process allows the keeper to get a close look at each individual and administer any medications that our veterinarians have prescribed. Once on exhibit, the foraging begins. Breakfast consists of oranges, primate biscuits, and dried yellow peas and is often scattered or offered in puzzle feeders to encourage the natural behavior of searching for food.
After eating, the macaques settle into various daytime activities. Social behaviors occupy much of their time. Grooming serves not only to aid in cleanliness, but also to maintain social bonds. Macaques, especially the younger ones, also engage in play behaviors: wrestling and chasing each other, interacting with enrichment items, and playing in the pools. Enrichment is offered a minimum of three times per day and covers a variety of categories including sensory, manipulative, and dietary. Enrichment items are switched out often to help keep them novel and engaging. Training sessions may also be offered at various points of the day, giving monkeys the opportunity to participate if they choose. Napping is also a popular monkey activity, especially among the older females in the early afternoon. Foraging continues intermittently throughout the day, snacking on leftover breakfast biscuits and browsing the exhibit’s edible plants until it’s time for supper. PM diet consists of a second type of primate biscuit, oatmeal, and a variety of produce. This is spread throughout the indoor holding spaces along with more enrichment. Then the macaques are shifted inside for the night. Each individual is counted and checked on before the keeper leaves them to their eating and sleeping until the next day.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this #WhatWeDoWednesday glimpse into the daily lives of our Japanese macaque troop. If you’re interested in helping us provide even more enrichment variety to the monkeys or our other animals, please check out the Small Mammals team wish list at https://www.blankparkzoo.com/