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How to Befriend a Bonobo

If you live in San Diego, there is no need to be lonely. There are plenty of friends to be had over at the world famous San Diego Zoo. And it all starts with fast food!


1. Start collecting McDonald's and Burger King toys. The toys must be ones that move or make noise.

2. Once you have a good collection, head to San Diego and bring them along.

3. Buy a ticket to the San Diego Zoo and find the Bonobo enclosure, with your toys in tow.

4. Wait until there aren't many people around. Then approach the glass and sit down, pretending not to pay attention to the Bonobos.

5. Eventually, one of the Bonobos will approach you. If they don't, you might try leaving and returning in some more eye-catching clothing.

6. The Bonobo will put his/her hands or face against the glass. Interact with him/her by putting your own hand against the glass, and making eye contact.

7. Stop touching the glass and look away. The Bonobo will attempt to gain your attention by rubbing against the glass.

8. After a moment, turn back to the Bonobo, and scratch the glass as though you were scratching his/her back or head. He/she will like this.

9. Stop scratching and ignore the Bonobo once again. He/she will become frustrated, and begin to bang his/her rump against the glass. When this happens, you have the Bonobo's full attention, and it is time to bring out the toys.

10. Present one of the toys to the Bonobo by holding it up to the glass. He/she will inspect it, and pretend to touch and hold it.

11. After the Bonobo has had a few moments to study the toy, activate it so that it moves or makes noise. The Bonobo may be startled at first, but he/she will be intrigued.

12. Every time the Bonobo starts to lose interest in one toy, take a break to scratch him/her, and then bring out another toy.

13. Congratulations. You have now befriended a Bonobo at the San Diego Zoo.


* This doesn't really work if there are tons of other people around, or if people are pressed against or banging on the glass.

* Many primates interpret teeth-showing as a sign of aggression, so try not to smile too much.

* I guess I should mention here, as there seems to have been some confusion, that you are not actually giving the bonobos the toys. You are holding them up against the large wall of glass that separates you. You are not actually touching the Bonobo, nor is the Bonobo actually touching you or the objects you are holding.

 Sources and Citations

* Source: A very strange man I met at the San Diego Zoo. Boy did those Bonobos love him.

Article added: 08 June 2009

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