Chimpanzees are native to West and Central Africa, where they live in humid forests, deciduous woodlands and mixed savanna. They are omnivores, eating fruit, galls, insects, leaves, seeds and prey animals such as baboons, birds, bush pigs, monkeys and rodents.
Chimpanzee behavior and facts
- Chimpanzees are highly intelligent and live in family groups, usually of females and juveniles. Males leave the group at adolescence.
- Chimpanzees are diurnal (active during the day); about half their waking hours are spent feeding.
- Like humans they have opposable thumbs – the thumb can reach over and make contact with the other digits – that lets them use tools to gather food.
- Like humans, they use facial muscles to communicate without language or sound.
- Chimpanzees have a highly developed language of grunts and barks.
- Males hunt in an organized group.
- Fusion-fission. Groups come together (fusion) or split apart (fission) depending on how much food is available in an area.
From birth to death
- Breeding: year-round with 3-year intervals between births
- Gestation: 8 months
- One chimp at birth; twins are rare
- Young are weaned at 4 to 5 years and may remain with their mother 10 or more years. Female chimps may remain with their mothers permanently.
- Lifespan: 30 to 40 years; in captivity up to 50 years
- Males: 90 to 200 pounds, 28 to 33 inches tall
- Females: 66 to 176 pounds, 30 to 36 inches tall
- U.S. Endangered
- CITES App I due to habitat loss
- Species Recovery Plan, studbook participant
- Great Ape TAG
Chimpanzees, the Oregon Zoo and you
The zoo's four chimpanzees live in the Chimpanzees exhibit.
At the zoo the chimps eat fruits, greens, monkey chow and vegetables. In the wild, chimps often come across large termite mounds. They find sticks and push them into the mound; termites gather on the stick and when the chimps pull the stick out, they lick the termites off it. The zoo has artificial termite mounds. When chimps plunge sticks into them, the reward is not termites but treats such as mustard, pie filling, ketchup or apple sauce.