The chimpanzee resembles humans more closely than any other animal.

Daily Life

The chimpanzee is active by day, spending the night asleep in a nest which it makes with branches and vines in a tree, well above the ground, safe from predators. The same nest may be used for several nights if the troop is not on the move.

Fruits, including bananas, pawpaws and wild figs, make up the main part of the chimpanzee's diet and about 7 hours a day may be spent feeding, either up trees or on the ground. After an early morning feed, a chimpanzee becomes less active and lounges about, nibbling the odd berry, leaf, bud or flower. Later in the afternoon, there is usually a more intensive feeding session. Although the usual food is fruits, leaves, flowers and roots, crevices in logs are searched for insects, birds nests are robbed of eggs and chicks and small mammals are eaten. Chimpanzees also hunt and eat larger animals such as young bushbucks, bushpigs, colobus monkeys and young baboons.

Chimpanzees hugging - Flickr © Buffa CC BY 2.0Socialising: Members of a troop spend many hours grooming each other, and themselves. Mothers carefully search the fur of their babies for foreign particles. Dirt, burrs, dried skin and ticks are plucked off and splinters removed by pinching them out with lips or fingers.

When chimpanzees meet up after having been apart, they greet each other in a very human way, by touching each other or even holding hands and kissing! If a dominant male arrives, the other members of his troop rush over to pay their respects to him. Within a troop, the males are arranged in a social order, and usually, the older the male the more dominant he is. The males perform noisy displays to help establish seniority, waving branches or rocks or drumming their feet on tree trunks and the ground.

 

Chimpanzee

 

Tool-users: Chimpanzees are the best tool-users apart from humans. They use a variety of tools, the most common is a stick to extract honey, ants or termites from nests. Sticks up to a metre in length are picked off the ground or broken from branches and pushed into nests, then withdrawn, and the insects or honey licked off. Some use a long stick to catch marching soldier ants by wetting the stick with saliva and laying it across the ants' path. When enough ants have stuck to it, the chimpanzee sucks them off.

Stones are used to crack nuts, or as missiles to drive baboons or humans away from food. Another material used for tools is leaves. They are picked, chewed up into a ball and used as a sponge for soaking up water, which is then squeezed into the mouth. Whole leaves are sometimes used for wiping sticky mouths and hands after eating fruit.

Read More: Breeding

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