The relationship between forage material and levels of coprophagy in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Jo Fritz, Susan Maki, Leanne T. Nash, Timothy Martin, Marilyn Matevia
Zoo Biology
A Wiley Company, Inc., Wiley Subscription Services
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Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430110503.abs Although coprophagy is practiced in the wild by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), it occurs more frequently and under more varied circumstances in captivity. This study was designed to determine if different forage materials and amount of residual undigested grain particles found in the feces might cause an increase in coprophagous behavior in those animals which already exhibited the behavior. A possible effect of availability of seed pits and fibrous leaves for “wadge” making, a typical chimpanzee behavior, on levels of coprophagy was also considered. Observations for coprophagous behavior were conducted on 65 juvenile, adolescent, and adult chimpanzees. Coprophagy levels were significantly lower with popcorn than either chicken scratch or sweet feed. A significant increase in coprophagy was noted for all weeks of forage types when tested against the wadge weeks. Residual grain content analysis showed no significant difference in coprophagous behavior between any of the testing conditions. Decreasing levels of coprophagous behaviors may be assisted by the provision of wadge materials. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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