Chimpanzee Chimpanzee

Scientific Classification

Common Name
chimpanzee, chimp
Genus Species
Pan (all) troglodytes (cave dwellers)

Fast Facts

Long arms with opposable thumbs; hair color brown to black; adults similar in size to adolescent humans
Male: 1.2 m (4 ft.)
Female: 1.1 m (3.5 ft.)
Male: 60 kg (132 lbs.)
Female: 47 kg (103.6 lbs.)
Omnivores that feed on fruits, leaves, seeds, stems, bark, insect, and meat; 60% fruits, 30% other vegetation, 10% animal matter
230 to 240 days
Estral Period
36 days
Nursing Duration
48 months (wean)
Sexual Maturity
Male: 7 to 8 years
Female: 6 to 10 years
Life Span
Average of 30 to 40 years in the wild; 45 to 55 years in managed situations
Equatorial Africa
Tropical forests
Global: Unknown
IUCN: Endangered with some populations listed as Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS: Endangered

Fun Facts

  1. Young chimps learn to create tools from objects in their environment by watching others; they use sticks to extract termites to eat and crumple leaves to soak up water to drink.
  2. Just like people, mother chimpanzees often develop lifelong relationships with their offspring.
  3. By following wild chimps through the forests, scientists discovered that chimps use medicinal plants to treat themselves for illness and injury. Scientists have isolated an anti-tumor agent in one such plant.
  4. Chimpanzees are very social primates that use facial expressions, vocalizations, body language, grooming, and even kisses and pats to communicate with members of their group.
  5. The differences between monkeys and apes are easy to see once you know what to look for. Apes do not have a tail and are generally larger than most other primates. They have a more upright body posture as well. Apes rely more on vision than on smell and have a short broad nose rather than a snout, as Old World monkeys do. Apes have a larger brain relative to the body size than other primates do.

Ecology and Conservation

While foraging through an area, a chimp feeds on a variety of fruits. A few days later, the seeds pass through the digestive tract and germinate far away from the parent plant. This method of seed dispersal insures healthy plant diversity within the habitat and creates shelter and food for other forest dwellers, including native peoples.

Because chimps closely resemble humans, studying their behavior and biology may provide great insight for solving the mysteries of our own ancestry and social development.

There are only four subspecies of chimpanzee left in the wild today. Habitat loss, poaching, and the bush meat trade are the main causes behind chimp deaths.

Busch Gardens is proud of its long-standing relationship with the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., the site of some of the most well-respected primate research programs in the world. Busch Gardens has partnered with the Yerkes Center on several primate conservation research programs including the Tana River Primate Research Center in Southeast Kenya and in-park behavioral research carried out by Frans de Waal, Ph.D. and his staff at the Yerkes Center.


Ghiglieri, Michael P. East of the Mountains of the Moon. New York: Free Press, 1988.

Goodall, Jane. In the Shadow of Man. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1971.

Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol.I. Baltimore: Johns-Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Parker, Sybil P. (ed.). Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. II. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990.

Humle, T., Maisels, F., Oates, J.F., Plumptre, A. & Williamson, E.A. 2016. Pan troglodytes (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15933A129038584.