Along the highways leading into Charleston we’ve seen billboards the last couple of months that ask us if we can name 20 vegetables in the next two miles. Our gibbons would have no trouble with this (apart from that language-barrier thing…). Can you name 20 veggies in, say, the next two minutes?


Normally our staff chops up the gibbons’ veggies into manageable chunks, but, in honor of the holiday, today we gave our little apes a few extra whole vegetables to enjoy.

As our senior animal caregiver Meg told me earlier today, “Maybe I couldn’t before I started working at IPPL, but I sure can now!”


Elizabeth and pepper

Elizabeth, here, kept battling her partner Ahimsa for rights to the best pepper!


Ahimsa and pepper

Sometimes Ahimsa had to be satisfied with whatever Elizabeth dropped!


Our gibbons get a lovely variety of veggies every day for breakfast. In addition to picking up what’s on sale at the local grocery stores, we supplement our daily menu with produce from our Summerville farmers’ market, local roadside stands (the one owned by Mrs. Rivers down the street is one of our long-time favorites), the flea market in nearby Ladson (where vendors often feature veggies popular in Latin American cooking), and even IPPL’s own modest garden plots.

Peppers and onions

The pepper plants (in front) and onions (behind the bowl of special veggie treats) in our garden are small but continuing to do well. Our caregiver Brandon loves peppers: “the hotter, the better.”


Tong and celery

Tong enjoyed her big ol’ stalk of celery—once she got it through the wire-mesh of her enclosure wall (pulling the stalk through cross-wise just didn’t work too well…).

Some of our gibbons, like Elsa, Helen, and Peppy, actually prefer veggies over fruit, which all our gibbons receive at lunch.


Maui and carrot

Our gibbons do enjoy mild veggies (like the carrot being munched on by Maui). But our office manager Barbara has been shopping for the gibbons for 16 years, and she knows they like some peculiar things, too; she says, “It sounds crazy, but they like raw sweet onions and even raw eggplant—now that’s a rarity, not everybody can take that!”


Since today is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, why not celebrate with a gibbon-style raw salade composée? If you want to be authentic, you can even serve it in a stainless steel bucket! According to our caregiver Samantha, on today’s breakfast menu we offered our gibbons:

  • romaine lettuce,
  • peppers,
  • green onions,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • broccoli
  • eggplant,
  • celery, and
  • green beans.

(Or you may want to turn some of that into a stir-fry….)

Elizabeth contemplates pepper

Elizabeth loves her veggies!


June 17 may be National Eat Your Vegetables Day—but every day is Eat Your Vegetables Day for the IPPL gibbons!