Why Do Chimpanzees Throw Feces?

Chimpanzees that can accurately hit targets when throwing feces have higher development in the left side of their brains.

Have you ever thought about why chimpanzees throw feces? It’s a bit of a mystery of life.

While it may seem funny to some, it can be a messy ordeal for those who get hit.

You may be wondering why they choose to throw feces at people specifically. Here are some facts about why chimpanzees act this way.

Is it just for entertainment?

In the wild, chimpanzees react to situations in ways similar to humans. Just like us, they have methods of communicating their feelings and emotions, and throwing objects is one of them.

When they’re angry, they may stand up and wave their arms around violently to release their anger, and throwing objects is a way of releasing emotions and energy. So, there’s no suggestion that they’re throwing feces for entertainment.

Why do they choose feces?

Chimpanzees mainly throw feces because it’s readily available to them when they’re in captivity and in cages. When they’re feeling agitated, they’ll grab the first object they see to throw, so there isn’t much thought given to the choice of object to launch.

In most zoos, they lack loose natural objects around them, so feces has become their only weapon.

In the wild, chimpanzees have access to a variety of objects, such as branches, rocks, and stones that they can throw. So, in their natural habitat, they’ll throw anything, but in captivity, they’ve had to get creative with the limited supplies within their environment.

Is it just to release anger?

Throwing feces or objects is not only an emotional release for chimpanzees but also a form of communication. The better they are at hitting the target, the better their communication is among the group.

Chimpanzees that can hit targets more accurately show higher development in the left side of their brain, where processing communication between them happens. By practicing their aim, they’re improving their skills to become better communicators within the group.

Do chimpanzees recognize their actions when they throw feces at humans?

In some ways, yes. Researchers have analyzed chimpanzees in captivity and their feces-throwing activity and concluded that when visitors get hit by feces, they react to the situation.

This commotion reinforces the behavior of the chimpanzees, who recognize the drama caused by their actions.

It has been observed by scientists that chimpanzees can recognize the reaction that occurs when they throw feces at humans, which leads them to repeat the action even when they are not angry. This behavior has changed as in the wild, they only throw poop when they are angry, but in zoos, it has become more of an activity as the chimps are aware of the reaction. The research indicates that chimpanzees in the wild are less likely to throw poop, as they have an abundance of other objects to throw, and throwing poop is unnatural. However, wild howler monkeys in Belize are known for throwing their poop as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened or unsafe. They are the only primates known to do this in the wild and outside of captivity. So, the next time you visit a zoo, observe this humorous but disgusting activity that chimpanzees have developed due to captivity, but be careful not to become their target!


1. What is the purpose of chimpanzees throwing poop?

Chimpanzees are known to throw poop as a form of communication. It can be used to express aggression, assert dominance, or simply to get attention. By throwing poop, chimpanzees are able to convey their emotions and intentions to others in their group. Additionally, throwing poop can also serve as a defense mechanism against predators or other threats.

2. Do all chimpanzees throw poop?

No, not all chimpanzees throw poop. It is a behavior that is more commonly seen in captive chimpanzees, as they are often bored and frustrated in their environments. In the wild, chimpanzees are more likely to use vocalizations and body language to communicate with each other.

3. Is throwing poop a common behavior among primates?

Throwing poop is not exclusive to chimpanzees and has been observed in other primate species such as orangutans and gorillas. However, it is not a universal behavior among primates and is not seen in all species.

4. Can throwing poop be harmful to chimpanzees or humans?

Throwing poop can potentially be harmful to both chimpanzees and humans. In captive environments, it can lead to the spread of diseases and infections among the animals. For humans, exposure to chimpanzee poop can be dangerous as it may contain harmful bacteria and viruses. It is important to handle and dispose of chimpanzee feces safely and appropriately to prevent any potential health risks.

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