Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Great Apes and Humans: Hominidae - Behavior And Reproduction, Great Apes And People, Bornean Orangutan (pongo Pygmaeus): Species Accounts - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

Great Apes and Humans: Hominidae - Chimpanzee (pan Troglodytes): Species Accounts

chimpanzees males females pounds

Physical characteristics: Chimpanzees have black hair, which may turn gray with age, accompanied by partial balding. The naked face varies from pink to black and has a short, white beard. They have a brow ridge, protruding snout, and large ears. The thumbs function like those of humans for handling objects. The large toes are used for a firm grip when climbing trees. Males weigh 80 to 130 pounds
(36.3 to 59 kilograms), and females about 70 to 100 pounds
(31.8 to 45.4 kilograms). They stand about 3.8 to 5.5 feet (1 to 1.7 meters) tall.


Geographic range: Chimpanzees are found in many African countries, including Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana,

Young chimpanzees play with one another, as these orphaned chimpanzees are doing. (K. and K. Ammann/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Sudan.


Habitat: Chimpanzees occupy mountain forests, open woodlands, and grasslands.


Diet: Chimpanzees are omnivorous, eating both plants and animals. They feed on fruits, nuts, flowers, seeds, and bird eggs. Their favorite prey is the red colobus monkey. They also eat termites, small antelopes, and bush pigs.


Behavior and reproduction: Chimpanzees live in communities of as many as eighty individuals, but may form subgroups of just males, mothers and young, or both sexes of different ages. A dominant male rules a group but may be replaced at any time. Adult males dominate all females. Males defend their territory from outside groups, sometimes killing all the members of the outside group. Chimpanzees sleep in tree nests. They are expert tool users, using rocks to open nuts and sticks to get termites. They communicate through facial expressions and a variety of sounds. Group members groom each other to strengthen social bonds.

Adults have several partners. Females have single births every four or five years. The young nurse for about four years, staying close to their mothers for another four years. Adolescent females may join another group.


Chimpanzees and people: Chimpanzees are popular exhibit animals in zoos and have been used in movies and television shows. They are hunted for food. They are used in medical research and were used in the space program.


Conservation status: The IUCN lists the chimpanzee as Endangered due to hunting for food, as well as habitat loss and degradation for agriculture, logging, and human settlements. ∎

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