Killer Chimps in America!

killer chimp— Killer Chimps in America was a recent MonsterQuest episode that did not pertain to Mojo Jojo, simian nemesis of (-ugh!) The Powerpuff  Girls. Rather, it concerned the possibility of wild chimpanzees loose in the swamps of Florida and possibly in California.   It was not the best MonsterQuest episode, dragging at times and appearing pieced together…but it was not the worst episode, either.

The intrepid MonsterQuest team searched for chimps in the Green Swamp in central Florida, a mere 40 miles away from Orlando, where great merchandising beasts are loose.  The team used camera traps including thermal units as well as gyroplane aircraft, one of which I must add to my Xmas list!  Anyhow, the camera traps detected bobcats, whitetail deer, wild turkey, owl, boar, and even a red wolf but (–surprise!)  no chimpanzees.

Now immature chimps have long been paraded on TV as cute and lovable creatures who can be dressed in clothes and otherwise embarrassed by training them to perform human-like behaviors.  The problem is that sexual maturity causes chimps to become stronger and more aggressive.  This is why the late Michael Jackson sent Bubbles the Chimp to a Florida simian sanctuary after palling around with him in the 1980’s.  As the Travis the Chimp mauling demonstrated so horrendously in recent months, a chimp possesses several times human strength, and can readily take a person apart with nothing other than their hands and teeth.   In the Travis attack, the lady targeted lost her nose, eyes, lips, and hands.  MonsterQuest profiled another man who together with his wife suffered a chimp attack, and his injuries were also horrendous.  Primates often target the face, by the way…and while chimps in nature often build up to a frenzied stage before an actual attack, domestically-raised chimps can attack instantaneously without telegraphing behaviorally their intentions.

…Now roadside carnivals and zoos in the 1920’s through 1940’s often exhibited chimps in Florida, with P.T. Barnum himself exhibiting chimps there as early as 1896.  Sadly, such road shows had been known to simply set the chimps free after they were done exhibiting them.  This would lend some credibility to the assertion that wild chimp populations were out there.  A cartographic comparison by MonsterQuest of the Green Swamp with Mali, Africa revealed that the areas had minimal differences despite variances in vegetation and elevation.

Despite many eyewitness sightings, physical proof of a wild chimp population in Florida remains elusive, however, and resources are not judged sufficient to maintain such a population.  It is also deemed unlikely that an escaped chimp could survive undetected in Central Florida; he would inevitably gravitate to Disney World, and probably attempt to butt in line at the attractions.

An underlying issue presented in the episode was that 13 states don’t regulate ownership of exotic animals that would include chimpanzees, and chimps are near the top of the list of animals that make bad pets for home ownership…

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4 Comments on “Killer Chimps in America!”

  1. Carycomic Says:

    Feral chimps might have it better in the Green Swamp, though, compared to life in the Everglades. I mean, think about it. Between the native gators and feral pythons, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance at just plain surviving.

    As for breeding? Well, unless Skunk Apes are for real…


    • vulpesffb Says:

      I’ve never seen a feral chimp,
      I hope I never see one.
      But I can tell you anyways,
      I’d rather see than be one!


    • markallenmcdonald Says:

      I grew up in Florida, spent nearly all my time there in the woods and swamps north from Jacksonville, west to Destin and south to Tampa.

      Ocala has a very family, self sustaining population of baboons, they’ve been there since the filming of the Tarzan series and their numbers continue to grow. Silver Springs park guides warn park visitors about encounters with these animals and warn that smiling can been seen by baboon as an aggressive act.

      To that point, I have seen the Monster Quest episode written about here and honestly, the show missed a lot of information. Food is one thing that it didn’t address correctly. Chimps are not even occasional omnivores. They regularly incorporate meat in their diet even with a plentiful supply of fruit. There is a vast quantity of palm-frawns available in Green Swamp. Very eatable, very good for nutrition. All it takes is observation to learn how to harvest it.

      I’ve personally seen vast numbers of smaller monkeys in the wild in many of the swamps of central and south Florida, some as far north as St. Augustine. Most of these have been spider monkeys.

      Hurricanes make for prime opportunities for escape. This doesn’t even speak to people that let their unmanageable mature pets go rather than pay for their care for as long as thirty years at a state approved shelter.

      I have not see chimps there. But I also don’t live there any more so, I end with this thought. Is it possible that chips exist in self-sufficient numbers? Yes. Given the availability of resources in places such as Green Swamp, absolutely. Are there such populations there, the search is still on and there are a lot more swamps there than just Green Swamp.


  2. carycomic Says:

    I’ve heard of the Silver Springs monkeys. But, I’m pretty sure those are feral rhesus macaques (semi-distant relatives of the baboon).


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