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Orangutan Self-Medicates

"Take two pills and call me in the morning." Many of us have taken this advice from a doctor, but in Tokyo an orangutan is surprising her keepers by self-medicating!

An elderly orangutan named Gypsy got sick during the rainy season and was having to take medicine from sealed packets. Keepers would tear open the packets for her before pouring the medicine into her mouth.

But one day a keeper accidentally dropped the medicine inside Gypsy's cage. When the keeper went to retrieve it the following morning, it had been torn open and the contents had disappeared.

It was then discovered that if Gypsy was handed packets of the medicine, she would skillfully rip them open herself before tipping the medicine into her mouth.

Keepers at Tama Zoo say that such behavior is very unusual for Orangutans.

Gypsy also wipes her cage with a cloth when she feels like it, and pours water into a plastic bottle before drinking it.


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