When it stays colder than 50 degrees (F) outside, we keep the gibbons nice and warm in their indoor night quarters throughout the day. They don’t always appreciate our consideration for their comfort, however! Many of them (“Maynard, Chloe, Gus, Scrappy, Dianne—and especially Courtney,” says our caregiver Samantha) get cranky at being cooped up. It’s especially bad if we get hit with a cold front and have to keep them indoors for days at a time. When they get cranky, they get a bit grabby and will stare at you with a characteristic tight-lipped “tense mouth.”
Well, the balmy days of last Christmas (when, a few days before the holiday, we saw highs in the 80s!) certainly seem but a distant memory. The weather report for today indicates a high of 42 degrees and an expected overnight low of 29. Plus we’ve got a touch of wind chill to make things feel about 10 degrees colder. Brrr! It’s hard to believe that nearly three-quarters of the days last month saw warmer than average temperatures.
I’m sure we’ll see some more cold weather yet before springtime, and on days like these it takes the sting out of confinement to give our gibbons a special enrichment treat. Today our animal caregivers Samantha and Rachel presented some of our gibbons with kebabs made of pasta and fruit. They took bits of kiwi, pears, and pineapple and skewered them on pieces of (uncooked!) angel hair pasta.
The fruit kebabs were a hit! “Michael was bouncing off the walls with excitement, and Glenda was so into it she wouldn’t back away far enough to let us get a good picture of her,” Samantha reported.
But there are always refinements to be made. Says Samantha, “The angel hair was great, but it broke a little too easily. Next time we’ll use fettuccine.”