Guinea: Chimpanzees Will Drink You Under The Table

Chimpanzees have long been known as our closest relatives, and often discovered to be spookily similar. Meet the chimpanzees who are first of their kind to take part in regular drinking. It’s difficult not to wonder if chimps experience hangovers. If so, why do they seem to enjoy it? Is it far-fetched to posture that it’s probably for the same reasons humans do?

The 1st Alcohol Consumption Study Done on Chimps

For the last 17 years, the Royal Society Open Science has been studying these chimpanzees from the south eastern part of the Republic of Guinea. This research, carried out from 1995 to 2012 is the world’s first alcohol related study done on wild chimpanzees. They were able to record 51 drinking events, and much like humans, they co-drank, having drinking sessions more so than drinking alone. Though there was always that one guy…

“What’s your poison?”

Their drink of choice is a fermented planet sap which they drink using large leaves. Yes, as nature would have it, these toolmaking extraordinaires developed their own goblets, too. They chewed-up the leaves to make absorbent sponges that they could then dip into the sap of raffia palm trees to squeeze into their mouths. The sap from these trees ferment quickly into palm wine.


More of then than not, they were reported to consume enough alcohol from this palm tree sap that one could visually tell they were inebriated. Some chimpanzees consumed approximately 85ml of alcohol, according to Dr. Kimberley Hockings. Hockings is a leader of the primatological research team from Oxford Brookes University and Centre for Research in Anthropology in Portugal. Consider this: 85ml of alcohol equates to an entire bottle of wine (for beer drinkers, this is about three pints of Stella Artois).

Do Chimpanzees Like Being Drunk?

Wino chimpanzees actually exhibit the same behavior humans do during inebriation. Some of these behaviors include passing out shortly after drinking. Some might even act foolhardy, swinging from tree to tree when it was time for bed, hopped up on liquid courage perhaps.

Fun-Geography-for-Kids-on-How-the-Tortoise-Got-Its-Shell-Image-of-a-Man-Tapping-a-Palm-Tree-for-Palm-Wine (1)

Local villagers in their region of Guinea do collect the sap from raffia palm trees. Human tappers will put a container under a wedge that they have cut into the palm tree. Chimpanzees might raid the containers, furtively dipping their leaf sponges (“goblets”) into the plastic harvesting containers. Clearly, they really like drinking. To be fair though, there was not truly conclusive evidence that spoke of their attraction to the alcohol. It could have been the taste. Dr. Hockings expressed interest in giving them the option of alcoholic and non-alcoholic palm wine for future tests.

It isn’t the weekend yet, but if you’re looking for inspiration watch this video to watch the chimpanzees get their booze on.

Don’t forget to “hidrate” after any drinking day. HidrateMe can help you recover from those miserable hangovers: