“Miracle” gorilla poop oranges

From New Year’s Day to the 3rd of January, Japan Monkey Centre – an animal park that houses non-human primates – gave out “miracle” gorilla poop oranges as New Year’s gifts. The oranges came from a fruit tree that sprouted from seeds in a gorilla’s poop, and the probability of this occurrence was one in two million, according to calculations by staff at the centre. 

“Miracle” oranges grown from seeds in a gorilla’s poop 

According to Asahi News, the tree that produced the “miracle” poop oranges grows just outside the Japan Monkey Centre’s western gorilla enclosure. 

in the early 2000s, a female gorilla named Hanako had a habit of throwing her dung out of her enclosure to keep her area clean. As mikan – an orange-like citrus fruit – were also part of her diet, the seeds in her dung eventually sprouted into the tree that produces the “miracle” poop oranges that we know of today. 

According to the centre’s calculations, the probability of an orange seed in gorilla poop sprouting is one in two million, which is a miraculous feat.

About 10 years after the first tree sprouted, a second sprout emerged, giving Japan Monkey Centre two trees from which to harvest their “miracle” poop oranges.

Miracle Poop Oranges - tarou gorilla below the orange tree
Tarou, one of the other gorillas in the enclosure relaxing under one of the mikan trees.
Image credit: @j_monkeycentre

Why Japanese oranges are so popular 

In Japan, mikan are widely popular especially during winter. Sitting at a kotatsu – a heated table covered with a blanket – while snacking on a mikan during winter is a common practice in Japan.

Miracle Japanese Gorilla Poop Oranges - visual of the miracle poop orange
Image credit: @j_monkeycentre

The popularity of the mikan is attributed to its relatively affordable price. And much like clementines, the mikan is easy to peel. The mikan also has a long peak season lasting from autumn to early spring – October to March – ensuring a continuous supply for the cold winter.

“Miracle” Japanese gorilla poop oranges given out as lucky charms

From the 1st to 3rd of January 2022, Japan Monkey Centre held an event where they gave out 30 “miracle” poop oranges each day as a New Years’ lucky charm gift.

Miracle Poop Oranges - miracle poop oranges new years gifts
Image credit: @miraing84

If you have missed out on the opportunity to obtain the “miracle” poop orange as a good luck charm for the new year, fret not as this is an annual event. Japan Monkey Centre harvests the mikan and gives them out yearly, so for those living in Japan, be sure to visit them for a little extra luck to get you through the year. 

For those who are not residing in Japan, we can only hope that Japan will be open to tourists before next year.

Getting there: Japan Monkey Centre is a 20minute walk from Inuyama Station. You can also take the Gifu Community Bus and get off at the Japan Monkey Park stop. Private parking is available for those who choose to drive there.

Address: 484-0081, 26 Kanrin, Inuyama, Inuyama-City, Aichi Prefecture
Admission fee: ¥600 (~USD5.24) for adults; ¥400 (~USD3.49) for junior high and elementary school students; ¥300 (~USD2.62) for toddlers aged 3 and above
Opening hours: Nov –  Feb 10AM-4PM | Mar – Oct 10AM-5PM (Closed on Tues & Wed and additional weekdays; check the calendar before you visit)
Telephone: 0568-61-2327

For more news, check out:

Cover image adapted from: @j_monkeycentre and @jpnmonkeycentre

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.