Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Their Poop? Scientists Are Researching To Find Answers

Image Credit: Pixabay

I know that I’m in the minority here, but as far as I’m concerned, monkeys in general can just keep their distance. I think it was reading ‘The Hot Zone’ that led me to this conclusion – and that’s also the reason I refer loudly to all monkeys as “Ebola Monkeys” at the zoo.

But seriously, you guys. Monkeys are gross.

Case in point – they like to throw their own feces, preferably at people and seemingly just for laughs. Who does that? And why?

Well, hold on, because we’re about to tackle yet another big question.


Here’s the most interesting thing, right up front – according to the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, chimps don’t typically throw their poop in the wild.

They do like to throw things, but they usually stick to rocks or branches when they’re annoyed, but in captivity, there often isn’t anything readily available. So. Poop, because that’s always on hand (literally).

Chimps are also a**holes, so they throw poop at people because we give them a reaction. Whether it’s a zoo employee or a guest, people tend to lose their own shit when some is hurled their direction, and when chimps realize that they can control the behavior of their captors with a simple gesture, well. They love it.

Yes… that’s right… they’re basically toddlers.


But hold on, because also like toddlers, their behavior doesn’t mean they’re dumb. A 2012 study out of Emory University found that chimps with good aim had better developed motor cortexes, where physical actions are coordinated. They also had better communication between the cortex and Broca’s area, part of the frontal cortex that helps process language in people.

They also demonstrated more development in their left brain hemispheres and were better communicators in their social groups.

Also? A 2009 study found that the actions could be premeditated – an aggressive chimp at Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo named Satino would gather rocks and stockpile them before the zookeepers arrived for the day, making sure that he had ammunition ready. Similarly, other chimps have been known to poop in their hand and then hold onto it until a particularly annoying human walks by.


I mean, I’m not a fan of monkeys, but listen… if people were wandering by and staring at me all day, making dumb comments and harassing me while I’m trying to take a nap? I don’t know, I might be tempted to throw something, too.

So like I said at the outset, I really think it’s best for us and the chimps if we all just keep our distance.

Thank you.