A chimpanzee’s native habitat can range from the grasslands of the Savannah to the tropical rainforests of central and western Africa. Like other primates, chimpanzees do not dwell in a permanent home. Instead, they make a "nest" each night of tree limbs and leaves that they will abandon each morning. Their diet normally consists of fruits, nuts, plants, insects, and occasionally small animals.
Chimpanzees live in troops that can include as many as 60 members and are centered around a core group of males. Each troop is lead by one alpha male, which is usually the oldest and the strongest. They are very strong animals. An adult male chimp can be six to ten times stronger than a human. Females tend to move from troop to troop to breed. They reach childbearing age when they are around thirteen years old. They often care for their young for up to three years before the offspring is ready to be on its own. Chimpanzees typically have a life span of around thirty years in the wild and fifty plus years in captivity.
These two NC Zoo chimpanzees are acting out social behavior that can be found in the wild as well as at the zoo. Hondo (at left) has gathered about five or six "chimp biscuits” (barely visible in his hand) and has taken a seat at one of the many windows at their exhibit. “Maki (at right) realizing that he has these tasty treats came up to him and took a seat at his side.
By sitting by him in somewhat of a crouched position, she is actually asking him to give her one of his treats. Being the alpha male, Hondo, any food that he or the troop finds is ultimately his if he wants it and he can take it from others or keep his findings all to himself if he wants.