Chino the capuchin monkey emphatically wants this man to crush leaves (video)

This is a very cute, and somewhat odd, video of a little monkey that is very insistent about a man crushing some leaves for him. (Oh, and I’ve been flying back to DC today from Chicago, thus the light posting – am back home now :)


It’s a cute video, and somewhat strange too. I was curious what’s actually going on here.  So, I did some googling. I like to try to get the backstory on these viral videos that go around, and this one definitely went viral earlier this year, but most sites didn’t really know who the monkey even was.  Well, I found out.

His name is Chino, and he’s a brown capuchin monkey.  Someone bought Chino as a pet in 2010, and very quickly realized there was no way they were going to be able to take care of a monkey, so they turned him over to a South African organization called International Primate Rescue.  Chino was only six weeks old when he arrived at the rescue.  They repeatedly refer to Chino as “Cheeky Chino” on the IPR Web site.


I also did find one reference, elsewhere, to the fact that Chino apparently enjoys hearing the sound of leaves being crunched.  That might be what motivates him in the video below.

I know that my first and only run-in with wild(ish) monkeys was at a zoo in the Amazon, and the monkeys looked a lot like Chino (possibly more bright yellow).  They were insane.  At one point I had three monkeys climbing on me at once.  One was hanging on to my thigh, another was swinging on my arm, and the third, of course, was sitting on my shoulders with one hand covering my eyes, and the other grabbing a string around my neck that I was using to hold my clip-on sunglasses, and yanking hard. I was actually a bit afraid – and I was DYING to meet monkeys.  Circus monkeys, they are not.  Still, I’d love to meet Chino.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Suemarie

    It looks like they don’t have language-specific demos right now, but check out one of the great ape research demonstrations at the Think Tank. It looks like they happen pretty regularly. When I’ve been in the past (used to go to DC a lot for work), they were teaching the orangutans a symbol-based language (eg, triangles for verbs, etc) and the orangutans used a touch screen to answer questions from the trainer.

  • No, didnt know anything about language demos, I’ll google it right now!

  • Chino is Mensa, that explains it.

  • WarrenHart

    I think he just wants a treat and is just trying to get that message across to the guy.

  • LanceThruster

    I’ve seen reports of same and it totally makes sense. Even simple things like varying the time and placement of meat for the predators keeps them more alert and engaged.

    it’s why I’ve always been adverse to keeping/promoting exotic pets. There best life possible (barring other circumstances) is in the wild (should we be able to retain sufficient wild spaces).

  • That is really one of the major problems with pretty much all species in captivity, but especially primates. Sitting in an enclosure all day, with the same singular tree, same water pool, same diet, day in day out, same… same… same… boredom and lack of stimulation often becomes a significant contributing factor to behavioral problems that put animals and care takers at risk. Good zoos go to great lengths to come up with enrichment programs, to vary the animals’ routines, and give them things to do besides just sit there and be ogled by visitors.

  • LanceThruster

    It makes me think about the sadness of boredom. I hope the little feller is content. Cute as hell. Looks like he really enjoys the interaction.

  • Suemarie

    OMG. Have you seen the language demonstrations they do there? Super cool. I love how they are free to come and go (between enclosures). I was watching one of the males do a demo with a worker, and then his friend showed up at the door and he just left the demo behind to hang out with her. So interesting.

  • Did they really? LOL I love going to the one here at National Zoo. A few times now, I’ve been able to sit next to the huge orangutan’s (I think they are), through the glass, and just watch and photograph.

  • Well this one is at a primate preserve in Africa, so I suspect he’s being treated quite well.

  • S1AMER

    Yeah. I’m glad to find we’re useful for something.

  • ronbo

    Cute. But I always feel sadness for captive animals. I’m always afraid someone is going to get them hooked on smoking.

  • milli2

    Smart monkey. Choosing the primate with the biggest hands to do the job.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Adorable, but I always avoid the primate houses. When I was about 10 years old, my parents took me to a small zoo. When we got to the monkeys, they all stopped what they were doing and came over to watch me. My family keeps reminding me of the incident to this day.

  • HelenRainier

    Very intelligent capuchin. Knows what he needs and how to get what he wants — aren’t these the monkeys that are commonly associated with organ grinders?

  • LOL Oh god I missed that the first time! I just love this video. He cracks me up. He’s like a little kid.

  • Monoceros Forth

    0:28: “You’re not doing it right! [flips the leaf over] There, fixed that for you.”

  • Chino, the non conformist.

  • dula

    The other monkeys wanted the leaves left untouched.

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