LITTLE ROCK – An escaped chimpanzee at the Little Rock Zoo raided a kitchen cupboard and did a little cleaning with a toilet brush before sedatives knocked her out on top of a refrigerator.
The 120-pound primate, Judy, escaped Tuesday into a service area when a zookeeper opened a door to her sleeping quarters, unaware the animal was still inside.
As keepers tried to woo Judy back into her cage, she rummaged through a refrigerator where chimp snacks are stored. She opened kitchen cupboards, pulled out juice and soft drinks and took a swig from bottles she managed to open.
"Then she went in the bathroom and picked up a toilet brush and cleaned the toilet," primate keeper Ann Rademacher said. "Her technique was good enough to make me think she must have done it before."
Judy, 37, was a house pet before arriving at the zoo in 1988. Rademacher said that also might explain why Judy wrung out a sponge and scrubbed down the fridge.
The chimp accepted a strawberry yogurt laced with a sedative, but that didn't work so keepers waited until she was distracted by more food and they injected her. Within five minutes, she fell asleep on top of the refrigerator with half a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread she had pulled out of the freezer.
The zoo veterinarian gave Judy a drug to bring her around and she seemed groggy but otherwise fine, Rademacher said.
Zoo spokeswoman Susan Altrui said there was no danger that Judy would get out of the primate keepers service area and onto zoo grounds.