Prime Apes are neutral Mobs that live in Prime Ape Huts from the Shipwrecked DLC. The Slot Machine might spawn two Prime Apes as well. They bear a striking resemblance to the Splumonkeys, except their beard is much thicker. A Prime Ape will sometimes follow the player and collect items on the ground. Upon death, Prime Apes drop 1 Banana or 1 Morsel and any items in their inventory, which consists of everything they have picked up or harvested but not yet eaten, and Manure they have produced. They can be given a Silly Monkey Ball for distraction. If Wilbur is not unlocked, Prime Apes and Prime Ape Huts have a 10% chance of dropping the Tarnished Crown.
Prime Apes will curiously scavenge for most items they find on the ground, pick Berry Bushes and Mushrooms, and harvest crops from Farms. When hungry, they will eat any Fruits and Vegetables in their inventory. They will produce Manure in their inventory when they eat, unless they already possess a stack of 3 or more Manure. They will also periodically drop Manure once every couple of Days, which they will quickly pick up unless they are distracted. Prime Apes cannot open containers or steal items within them.
If one notices the player, it has a chance to follow the player for quite some time. This chance is significantly increased if the player is carrying raw or cooked Bananas. When following the player, they will specifically try to pick up items recently dropped on the ground and the items the player is attempting to pick up. Prime Apes will attempt to pick up Backpack slot items, but will continually drop them. They will wear hats they pick up, granting them the benefit of the hat (e.g., a Miner Hat will give light until it runs out of fuel, a Football Helmet will give damage reduction). Prime Apes will not pick up irreplaceable items.
Players can give hats and raw Bananas to Prime Apes, but they won't accept cooked Bananas. Giving them Bananas will pacify them if they are aggressive, otherwise it will befriend them. Befriended Prime Apes will defend the player and attack player's target. When the Prime Apes are friendly to the player, they will harvest Grass Tufts and Saplings and toss items in their inventory (including the harvested Grass and Twigs) to the player, unless they can eat that item or if that item is a fertilizer (i.e. Manure, Rot or Rotten Egg). They may also harvest Spiky Bushes, causing them to take slight damage. Friendly Prime Apes will not pick up items that they cannot eat from the ground, however they will continue to harvest Farms, Mushrooms and Berry Bushes. Wilbur is considered permanently friendly, without having to feed a Banana to the Prime Apes.
Prime Apes fight in groups, and once one of them is attacked, it will call for help, causing nearby Prime Apes to join in the fight. This includes Prime Apes befriended by the player. When fighting other Mobs, they will use a melee attack. When fighting the player, they will keep their distance and throw Manure from their inventory. This attack does not cause any damage to Health however, and will instead drop Sanity by 10 points if the player is hit. If they are out of Manure to throw, they will actively look to pick up Manure lying around or eat foods to replenish their supply. Without Manure, they pose no threat to the player, and will lose interest and turn neutral after some time. Prime Apes are not hostile to other Mobs, and will not attack them unless they are attacked. They will also not cause Spiders to spawn from Spider Dens when they step on the webbing.
Prime Apes can be distracted by giving them a Silly Monkey Ball, which prevents them from picking any items up while playing with it. Prime Apes that are in combat will not be distracted by a Silly Monkey Ball.
In the Ruins, Prime Apes show the same behavior as Splumonkeys during the Nightmare Cycle, turning into Shadow Prime Apes eventually and attacking the player, even if befriended. Shadow Prime Apes will only drop Beard Hair and whatever the Prime Ape stole, prior to the Nightmare Phase.
Since the Prime Apes will attempt to avoid the player when attacked, trying to fight them in open areas without Poison Spear or ranged weapon will not be successful. Using other Mobs, including befriended Prime Apes could be an easy method. Using a Silly Monkey Ball will allow the player to pick up all the loot from kills when there are other Prime Apes around.
Wendy excels at taking Prime Apes out. After an attack the Prime Ape will run away from Wendy but they won't run away from Abigail, meaning Abigail will chase them down and kill the Prime Ape. Prime Apes will attack Abigail with Melee and not ranged.
Below is the number of hits it takes with each weapon to kill a Prime Ape when playing with characters with a default damage modifier. The Weather Pain is not included due to the random nature of its projectile.
- Prime Apes lose interest in the player if the player jumps on a Boat. This can be used to the player's advantage to kill Prime Apes. Placing any kind of item as a lure near the shore will cause the Prime apes to try to pick up that item, bringing them in melee range, allowing the player to land a few hits before they run away. After this, if the player jumps on a boat, the Prime Apes will be pacified, and will attempt to pick the item again, allowing the player to jump off the boat, and repeat the process until the Prime apes are killed.
- To clear out an area heavily populated with Prime Apes, one can befriend one of them with a banana and send it to attack another Prime Ape. The resulting civil war will net the player quite a few bananas, morsels, and manure.
- It appears that when the Prime Apes follow the player, they are only looking to be fed. This is supported by the fact that when a player feeds a Banana to a Prime Ape, other Prime Apes following the player may give up and go back to their hut.
- Prime Apes only pick up items when the player is around, so if the player dies and is revived by a Touchstone, the Prime Apes won't steal the items that were left behind. However, when the player comes to pick the items up, the Prime Apes may steal them.
- Prime Apes are technically not apes, or they would be tailless. Their name is a pun on the term "primate," the taxonomic order which includes monkeys, apes, potos, lorises, tarsiers, galagos, lemurs, and humans.
- Prime Apes may accidentally hurt the player with their melee attack if the player attacks them (with a melee weapon) while they are attacking other mobs.
- Prime Apes appear to have a second ring of teeth in their throat.
- Walani's original examination quote for Prime Apes was; "Like looking in a mirror."
- The game will eventually crash if the player gives the last hit to a Prime Ape while it is picking up a trap.