These are Binky’s teeth.
This summer Fauna’s fabulous vet Dr. Bezner paid us a visit so she could investigate the infected air sack in Spock’s mouth. Because of the wonderful ways of Dr. Bezner, and the brilliant work of Anna, our enrichment coordinator, the examination was a great success. Kudos to Anna who specifically trained Spock to present his throat for a full examination. We were all very proud of him and thankful to Dr. Bezner, as he did not have to be anesthetized or have a surgical procedure. Plus, he enjoyed the attention and especially loved the squirts of juice in his mouth.
Good ol’ Binky saw all the fun and of course, wanted to join in. He came into the room after Spock was done and sat there with Dr. Bezner, completely cooperating. He was relaxed and enjoying his juice squirts when Dr. Bezner discovered his damaged teeth. Poor Bub. One moment he is having a good time, the next he is enduring a three-hour dental procedure. Tooth extractions are a very traumatic experience for a chimp, but Binky would be much healthier with them removed.
After his surgery a fascinating discovery was made. Inside one of his canines, Binky had lodged a small piece of plastic, clearly trying to find a way to ease his discomfort. The staff remembered seeing him working on his mouth in the mirror and it is likely this self-treatment must have been what he was trying to accomplish. (You can see the plastic in the top tooth in the picture.) It is not uncommon in the wild for animals to treat their injuries or discomforts with plants etc. Binky improvised by choosing something in his surroundings that might help him with relief.
After Binky was up and around, he was shown his teeth for inspection. He was curious about them and gave them a good sniff before turning away. Over the next few days, he would use a small mirror to examine the holes in his mouth and try to manipulate his stitches. It was a slow healing process and his diet was modified daily to accommodate his discomfort and healing. Thankfully, he has made a full recovery and although he looks a little different without those canines, he is once again making his wonderful raspberry sounds at everyone. pphhtttt!!