Located in Western and Central Africa, chimpanzees live in
humid forests, mixed savanna or deciduous woodland from sea
level up to 6500 feet.
Chimpanzee Social Structure and Behaviour:
Chimpanzees live in family groups of 15 to 120 animals with
generally a number of subgroups, which change in composition
regularly. Mothers will travel alone with young and migrate
to new communities whereas males almost never leave the community
into which they were born. A loose dominance hierarchy is
formed amongst males who routinely express tension when male
Chimpanzees construct a vegetation nest high in trees for
sleeping and are one of only a few mammals that utilise tools.
They poke twigs into termite nests and to remove the termite
for food. West Africa chimpanzees use stones to crack seeds.
Chimpanzees communicate with a wide range of calls including
food calls, identification calls and calls signifying danger.
They also have a breathy laughter when they are playing.
Chimpanzee Life Cycle:
There is no particular breeding season for chimpanzees with
females coming on heat every four to six weeks. Females in
captivity begin to mate at 8-9 years whilst wild females mature
3-4 years after this. With a life cycle of up to 60years they
maintain their reproductive capabilities up until the age
of 40. Chimpanzees are unable to grasp for the first few days
and so begin traveling with their Mothers support, within
a few days they are able to cling to the Mothers Ventral surface
without assistance. They can ride 'jockey style' on
their Mother from 5-7 months and from fours years the majority
of travel is done by walking. Young will stay with the Mother
until at least 5-7 years. Males reach puberty at 7 years but
are not fully integrated into the social hierarchy until 15+
The majority of the chimpanzee diet consists of fruit and
leaves. Animal consumption makes up approximately 5% of the
diet with ants and termites contributing the largest amount.
Occasionally chimpanzees have been known to hunt and kill
small game such as pigs and monkeys for food.
Visit our Top
25 Most Endangered Primates List to find out
which primates are considered critically endangered
by the IUCN.
Help Save The Primates improve quality of life for primates.
Save The Primates encourages action - become a volunteer.
If you are interested in hands-on volunteering for the welfare
whether chimpanzees, apes, or gorillas, visit our
PASA Sancturies page for
organisations that accept volunteers.