The chimpanzee is a species of great ape.

The chimpanzee is covered in coarse black hair, but has a bare face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. It is considered more robust than the bonobo, weighing between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb) and measuring about 63 to 94 cm (25 to 37 in). Its gestation period is eight months. The infant is weaned at about three years old, but usually maintains a close relationship with its mother for several more years; it reaches puberty at the age of eight to 10. Its lifespan in the wild is 36 years[3] and its lifespan in captivity is about 50 years.

The chimpanzee lives in groups which range in size from 15 to 150 members, although individuals travel and forage in much smaller groups during the day. The species lives in a male-dominated, strict hierarchy, which means disputes can generally be settled without the need for violence. Nearly all chimpanzee populations have been recorded using tools, modifying sticks, rocks, grass and leaves and using them for acquiring honey, termites, ants, nuts and water. The species has also been found creating sharpened sticks to spear Senegal bushbabies out of small holes in trees.

The chimpanzee is listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species. Between 170,000 and 300,000 individuals are estimated across its range in the forests and Savannah’s of West and Central Africa. The biggest threats to the common chimpanzee are habitat loss, poaching and disease.


The chimpanzee is a highly adaptable species. It lives in a variety of habitats, including dry savanna, evergreen rainforest, montane forest, swamp forest and dry woodland-savanna mosaic. In Gombe, the chimpanzee lives in subalpine moorland, open woodland, semideciduous forest, evergreen forest, and grassland with scattered trees. At Bossou, the chimpanzee inhabits multistage secondary deciduous forests, which have grown after shifting cultivation, as well as primary forests and grasslands. At Taï, it can be found in the last remaining tropical rain forest in Ivory Coast.

The chimpanzee has an advanced cognitive map of its home range and can repeatedly find food. The chimpanzee makes a night nest in a tree in a new location every night, with every chimpanzee in a separate nest other than infants or juvenile chimpanzees, which sleep with their mothers. Leopard predation is apparently a significant cause of mortality in chimpanzees at Taï and Lopé National Parks. Chimps are generally hostile towards leopards and may mob the predators and even kill their cubs. Lions may have preyed on the chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park, where at least four chimpanzees could have fallen prey to them. Although no other instances of lion predation on chimpanzees have been recorded, the larger group sizes of savanna chimps may have developed as a response to threats from these big cats.


Chimpanzees use a variety of facial expressions, postures and sounds to communicate with each other. Chimps have expressive faces which are important in close-up communications. When frightened, a “full closed grin” causes nearby individuals to be fearful, as well. Other facial expressions include the “lip flip”, “pout”, “sneer”, and “compressed-lips face”. When submitting to a conspecific, a chimp crunches, bobs, and extends a hand. When in an aggressive mode, a chimp swaggers bipedally, hunched over and arms waving, in an attempt to exaggerate its size.Chimps beat their hands and feet against the trunks of large trees, an act known as “drumming”.

Vocalizations are also important in chimp communication. The most common and important call in adults is the “pant-hoot”. These calls are made when individuals are excited. Pant-hoots are made of four parts, starting with soft “hoos” that get louder and louder and climax into screams and sometimes barks; the former die down to soft “hoos” again as the call ends. Submissive individuals will make “pant-grunts” towards their superiors. Chimps use distance calls to draw attention to danger, food sources, or other community members. “Barks” may be made as “short barks” when hunting and “tonal barks” when sighting large snakes.


The chimpanzee is an omnivorous frugivore. It prefers fruit above all other food items and even seeks out and eats them when they are not abundant. It also eats leaves and leaf buds, seeds, blossoms, stems, pith, bark and resin. Insects and meat make up a small proportion of their diet, estimated as 2%. While the chimpanzee is mostly herbivorous, it does eat honey, soil, insects, birds and their eggs, and small to medium-sized mammals, including other primates.The western red colobus ranks at the top of preferred mammal prey. Other mammalian prey include red-tailed monkeys, yellow baboons, blue duikers, bushbucks, and common warthogs.

Despite the fact that chimpanzees are known to hunt, and to collect insects and other invertebrates, such food actually makes up a tiny portion of their diet, from as little as 2% yearly to as much as 65 grams of animal flesh per day for each adult chimpanzee in peak hunting seasons. This also varies from troop to troop and year to year. However, in all cases, the majority of their diet consists of fruits, leaves, roots, and other plant matter. Female chimpanzees appear to consume much less animal flesh than males, according to several studies.