Did you know that Orangutans eat their own poop by the handful, throw it up, eat the vomit, and then repeat the vomit/eat vomit stage several times?
We went to the DC Zoo yesterday, and that is what we learned. Witnessed actually, firsthand!
In the Ape House, Lucy the Orangutan was sitting right next to the glass, chewing on a lump of poop. Of course, all my kids pressed their faces against the glass to get a better look! CJ even licked the glass, since that’s what Lucy was doing to get the last bits of poop that she’d smeared on the glass.
After the poop was gone, Lucy grabbed a piece of straw and chewed on it until she threw up. She ate that pile, then did it over and over again. We left after a few “feedings”, with Cboy’s parting yell, “HAVE FUN EATING POOP!”
Did I mention that the Ape House is extremely “echoey?” And there were a lot of people?
The zookeeper/apekeeper/whatever they’re called these days, had an explanation.
Apparently, apes in the wild don’t have access to great nutrition, so they eat their bodily excrements to get the very last bit of goodness from what they DO eat. I guess like a cow chewing cud? Just a
little lot more gross.
I’d never read that in any of my animal science books! But now we know. And I can chalk up another “school day” on Kbug’s record.