When a Raccoon Trespasses in the Chimpanzee Enclosure

Richard from Canton, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Who could blame these chimpanzees for defending their home?

Chimpanzees are known to be very territorial, so it is no surprise that when a raccoon invaded their enclosure at a zoo, they took up arms (or sticks) to keep out the unwelcome guest.

Chimps are even known to go as far as to kill other chimps to expand and protect their area.

In a study, it was shown that groups of more aggressive chimpanzees invade their neighbor’s territory to gain more land, resources and mating partners.

Even more interesting is the chimps’ use of sticks to reach the out-of-reach raccoon.

Jane Goodall has described groups of male chimps patrolling the perimeter of their territory and viciously attacking chimps.

Mira Meijer Burgers' Zoo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jane Goodall was the first to make the discovery that chimps make and use tools, which was previously thought to be a human-exclusive activity. In 1960, she first observed two chimpanzees strip the leaves off of a twig and use it as a tool to fish termites out of the ground. Before this observation, an animal other than a human was never spotted modifying and using a tool for a specific purpose.

Since, tools have been used to stems in nine different recorded ways such as feeding, investigating out-of-reach objects, and as we can see here, weapons.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen chimpanzees and raccoons face off. Watch the video below to see that time a raccoon made its way into a chimpanzee enclosure just to be thrown like a frisbee: