Polly Schultz: Enrichment Devices for Primates

Our enrichment team has designed and tested several new enrichment devices . It seems to be well worth the effort. The monkeys maintain interest for a long time and really enjoy them. Our devices are made from PVC & stainless steel hardware. We use only 'locknuts'. That way they don't rust, can be run through the washers, and if the monkeys happen to get a cap off, they can't remove the beads because they are secured with lock nuts. The holes we drill in the companion and the foraging devices are custom sized so hands and fingers can't get stuck. All beads and rings are non-toxic and very heavy duty plastics and marbella material.

For more information contact Polly Schultz at schultz11@earthlink.net

Enrichment3.jpg: easy food enrichment ideas, trailmix, fruit, peanuts in shell, etc frozen in ice cubes, kongs stuffed with dried banana, chow, etc, unsalted sunflower seeds in shell poked into whole apples, etc

Companion1.jpg: A special rice bag heated in microwave is placed inside the 'companion' device & then covered with fleece material. It can be hung from the top of the cage so the bottom doesn't touch the floor. When the monkey hangs onto it for heated (& grooming) comfort, it sways back & forth with the monkey. The device stays warm for a couple hours.The fleece cover & rice bag can be removed & the device can double as a foraging device as there are 'hand holes' drilled throughout the device. The device can be made to any length to accommodate various caging dimensions. Can also be attached to the side of a cage. This device provides grooming opportunities, mental stimulation with so many colorful beads & rings that can be manipulated but not removed, and 'warm comfort' to isolated monkeys.




CompanionFLEECE.jpg: Our 'Companion' device with the fleece cover in place.

Companion3.jpg: Shows the device covered w/alternative material and hung at an angle for a monkey here, who enjoys sleeping wrapped around the device. She 'eats regular fleece' but leaves this alternative material alone.

RiceBagCovered.jpg: We use 'special heated rice bags' covered in a 'soft' moisture proof cover for recovering surgical patients. It comforts them and speeds recovery time.

Various hand held Enrichment toys: If the monkeys loose interest after awhile with these, just act like you want them back and their interest is renewed :0) "If the humans want it it MUST be valuable!"

food1.jpg: We use the 'corer' to core a hole in apples, we then plug the hole with a same size core of yam, zuchinni, or even stick a carrot through. We take the core from the apple and put it in the core hole in the yam, etc. as shown. food2.jpg: We put a bit of trail mix in empty cereal boxes, etc & then cover with a 'flour & water paper mache' coated strips of newspaper. After it dries we give them to the monkeys. They love ripping them open and finding the treats.


The cage wheel: Is a device that hangs on the inside or outside of any cage. All hardware is stainless & secured with locknuts. The device has four tubes that can be filled with trailmix, peanuts, raisins, etc & a screw cap at each tube end makes filling & cleaning easy. The tubes are heavy duty PVC & holes are drilled appropriately sized for the size of the monkeys using it. The device spins around freely on 'monkey power' and they really enjoy foraging for treats, & manipulating the colorful rings & beads. Even the apparatus that attaches the device to the cage is stainless steel so it won't rust with a lot of washings. Occasionally we will add a few meal worms to the trailmix in the wheel and you should see how 'happy' the monkeys become when they see a squiggley little worm trying to crawl out of a hole!


Cage Spinner: Is a device that attaches to the inside or outside of a cage. It is decked out with rings, coconut discs & colorful beads that can all be manipulated but not removed. (except the coconut discs can be chewed off by older monkeys, but that gives them a sense of accomplishment) They love spinning this and rattling the colorful decorations! Again, all stainless and secured with locknuts.

 This foraging device is a heavy PVC tube with screw caps at each end for easy cleaning. It has colorful marbella beads & rings that monkeys spin & turn. The stainless steel hardware is connected to allow the tube to spin freely either direction, & the device can be hung from either end, or can attach horizontally from both ends doubling as an interesting perch. Treats are hidden inside the tube and can be picked out from the custom size holes drilled in the tube.The device can be hung on the inside or outside of a cage.

The monkeys love twirling the beads & rings around, & we keep their interest in the device by alternating the way it is hung (vertically or horizontally) & by changing the treats inside. Sometimes we use trailmix, other times we use fresh cut fruits & veges (as the device is easily removed & cleaned) & sometimes we throw in a few meal worms with the treats.

In some of these devices we custom size the holes to accomodate various chow sizes, so that some of the holes are large enough to get the chow out, some aren't & the monkeys have to work a bit harder at it.

Fleece enrichment: The device is actually a foraging tube, but doubles as a fleece grooming tube. The spinner wheel at the bottom keeps the fleece from being pulled off from the bottom, & the connector at the top that attaches to the cage prevents it from being removed from the top side. Also the fleece fits really snug so they normally don't get it off. But the fleece removes easily from the top when disconnected from the cage for washing.

This is a great option for monkeys needing grooming opportunities & additional foraging activities.



Small Mandy playing with a handspinner

Coconut disks


 Water enrichment