(Pan troglodytes)

Range and habitat
Chimpanzees live in the tropical rainforests of Africa, but are also found in forest-savanna areas and mountain forests. There are three species of chimpanzees, which live in different areas.

A chimpanzee is covered almost all over its body with long, black hairs. The hairs become grayer as the animal ages. Especially on the back, chin and rump. The only places where no hair grows on a chimpanzee are the face, ears, palms of the hands, soles of the feet and private parts. Communication through facial expressions is very similar to that of humans. However, we can still sometimes misinterpret these expressions: for example, a chimpanzee often grins out of fear, not joy.

A female, when fertile, mates with several males. The pregnancy lasts about eight months and usually one baby is born. Exceptionally, twins are born. A young chimpanzee drinks from its mother for 3-5 years. A female gives birth to a young every 4-7 years on average.

Did you know?
  • A chimpanzee’s DNA is 98% similar to that of humans
  • A chimpanzee is many times stronger than we are, despite its smaller size
  • The strong arms can reach a span of up to 2.7 meters
  • Length 70 to 96 cm
  • Weight 20 to 70 kg
  • Lifespan 40 years on average. Max. in the wild: 55 years. Max. in captivity: 60 years, but higher ages are known
  • Range Africa
  • Habitat Tropical rainforest, but they also live in forest-savanna areas and in mountain forests
Chimpanzees are omnivores and therefore eat both plant and animal foods. They eat ripe fruit and young leaves and also feed on the stems, buds, bark, seeds and resin of plants. A variety of insects, small vertebrates and eggs add animal food to the diet. Males generally eat more meat and females eat more insects. The diet may vary seasonally depending on what food is available during the time of year.

Behavious and way of life
Chimpanzees belong to the great apes, as do bonobos, orangutans, gorillas and humans. Usually a chimpanzee walks on all fours. Only when he has his hands full or when he wants to intimidate others, he walks on two legs. The animal is known for its high intelligence. A chimpanzee can easily turn a twig into a fishing rod which it then puts into a termite mound. The termites bite the ‘intruder’ and when the chimpanzee (carefully) pulls out the twig, it is full of termites that he can eat.

A chimpanzee is also able to remember which groupmate helped him get a meal. For example, if a bunch of bananas is hanging too high and it takes two chimps to get it down. The spoils are then shared fairly.

The size of a group of chimpanzees varies greatly. In the group, each male and female has their own place in the hierarchy. The relationships within a group are regularly tested by means of impressing behavior or even a fight. If a chimpanzee has been away for a while and comes back to the group, he can count on a hug and a kiss from the other animals. They will have missed each other.

AAP and chimpanzees

Many of the chimpanzees that end up at AAP have been taken away from their natural habitat. They end up in the illegal trade and in circuses or in people’s homes. Life there is not suitable for a chimpanzee and poor nutrition and an unsuitable habitat become part of their existence. Often the chimpanzees end up lonely in an attic room or a dirty dark garage, because the older they get the more unruly they become.

AAP is committed to changing the laws and policies surrounding illegal trade and private ownership of exotic animals, in part with the help of a positive list.