Image: Rhett A. Butler

Meet the chimpanzee!

Chimpanzees (scientific name: Pan troglodytes) are a type of large ape. They live in forests and woodlands in parts of West and Central Africa, and also in the western part of Uganda and Tanzania.

Chimpanzees mostly eat fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, and insects like termites. Adult male chimpanzees sometimes eat meat, too. They are active during the day. At night they nest in trees, in beds that they make out of branches and leaves.

Chimpanzees live in communities of about 10 to 100 members. The largest known chimp community contained 150 members.

Chimpanzees – and also apes called bonobos (Pan paniscus) – are the closest living relatives of humans. That means we share a common ancestor with them.

Chimpanzees are fascinating to watch. They do things that remind us of ourselves. They are highly social animals. They have friends and enemies and complex cultures. They use tools and learn from each other.

Watch this episode of Candid Animal Cam for an introduction to chimpanzees:

Learn more

Chimpanzees belong to a group called the great apes. Other non-human apes in this group include bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. All these large apes – and humans – share a common ancestor.

Conservation status

Chimpanzees are endangered. Threats to chimpanzees include loss of their forest habitat and hunting for bushmeat. Conservation groups and local communities that live near chimpanzees are working to protect these animals and their habitats. You can help too, by learning about chimpanzees and sharing what you’ve learned with others.

Monkeys have tails, apes do not. The orangutan and chimpanzee in this picture are great apes. The gibbon is a small ape.

Educator resources

African Wildlife Foundation: chimpanzee information

DisneyNature Chimpanzee Educator Guide: over 100 pages of lessons and education content for Grades 2-6

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): chimpanzee

This Candid Animal Cam video on chimpanzees was first published on

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