Action: Primates: Present food in water (including dishes and ponds)
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One replicated, before-and-after study in the USA found that when exposed to water-filled troughs, monkeys were more active and increased their use of tools.
Food should be presented to primates in a way that encourages their natural food finding behaviour. Introducing new textures stimulates curiosity and interest, with the aim of increasing their activity and foraging behaviours as well as their use of tools to extract the food from the water.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, before-and-after study in 1993 in the USA (Parks & Novack 1993) found that, when exposed to water-filled troughs, rhesus monkeys Macaca mulatta were more active compared to when troughs of water were absent. On average the number of times exploratory behaviour occurred increased from five, when there was no water trough present, to six when the trough was present, to four once the trough had been removed in two social groups of monkeys. Water was either standing or running and was contained in plastic troughs. For each of the two social groups, behavioural data was collected for 15 days every five minutes between the hours of 09:00 h and 10:00 h for each of the tests where no trough was present, where the trough was present with water and afterwards where no trough was present again. (CJ)