What Kind of Food Does a Chimpanzee Eat?

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Chimpanzees in the wild eat a diet consisting of fresh fruit, leaves, greens and other roughage, seeds, bark, insects and small animals. Their diet varies with the seasons and the weather, but most of what they eat is related to trees and forests.

chimps rely on their habitat for food
chimps rely on their habitat for food (Image: Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Geography

Chimpanzees live near the Congo River in Africa, where the climate is primarily tropical. Fresh tropical fruit makes up about 60 percent of a chimp's total food intake.

fruit makes up a large part of the chimp diet
fruit makes up a large part of the chimp diet (Image: Windzepher/iStock/Getty Images)

Habitat

The dense, thick forests that chimpanzees live in are also a valuable food source, and the apes will often eat leaves and other greens. According to the Honolulu Zoo, chimps routinely eat about 20 different species of plants and may sample a total of 300 different plant species during a typical year.

chimpanzees eat the plants of their native habitat
chimpanzees eat the plants of their native habitat (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Secondary Sources

During times when fruit is scarce and picked over, chimpanzees will search their surrounding environments for seeds, nuts, resin or tree bark to eat.

chimpanzees may search the forest for nuts, seeds, and tree bark to eat
chimpanzees may search the forest for nuts, seeds, and tree bark to eat (Image: SZE FEI WONG/iStock/Getty Images)

Omnivore Diet

Meat makes up only about 5 percent of a chimpanzee's diet, but most chimps supplement the fruit and greens they eat with termites, ants, birds, and monkeys.

chimps eat termites as well
chimps eat termites as well (Image: Thanapol Praserdvigai/iStock/Getty Images)

Tools

Chimps use simple tools to help them find and prepare food. They may use twigs to dig out termites or grubs from holes, and they often use stones to break open fruit.

they use twigs and stones as tools for food gathering
they use twigs and stones as tools for food gathering (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

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