Chimpanzees are omnivores. This means that a chimpanzee's diet consists of both plants and animals, just like humans. Chimps are also diurnal, meaning they eat and play during the day and sleep at night. In the wild, chimpanzees live, eat and hunt in Africa, but you can see chimpanzees in zoos all over the world. They are often one of the most lively and playful animals in the zoo. You can usually see pieces of their food strewn on the bottom of their living space, and you might even see a termite mound down there too.
Fruit and Plants
Two of the main staples of a chimpanzee's diet are fruit and plants. Chimps will mostly eat ripe fruits in their natural habitats when these are available and depending on the season. Some of the fruits chimpanzees eat are: bananas, figs, and pawpaws. They spend about seven hours a day eating--either in trees or on the ground. During these daily feeding sessions when their stomachs are full of fruit, they will tend to lounge and nibble on plants. Chimpanzees will eat berries, flowers and their buds, leaves, tree seeds, resin, and bark. Their diet may consist of more plants than fruit during long dry seasons when the fruit is scarce. They eat about 80 different types of plants.
Chimpanzees also eat insects, and they especially like termites, which provide the most nutrition for them. According to the Honolulu Zoo website, some zoos build termite mounds in the chimpanzees' living space at the zoo to simulate their natural habitat and their normal feeding behaviors in the wild. Chimpanzees will spend much of their daytime activities looking in log crevices for insects. Females spend twice as much time as males eating insects.
Many people do not realize that chimpanzees eat smaller mammals. Males tend to eat more animals than females do. However, meat does not make up much of their diet. Combined with their termite consumption, only 5 percent of their diet is made up of smaller animals. The rest is plants and fruit. Some of the mammals they hunt and eat are: young bushbucks, bushpigs, colobus monkeys, and young baboons. Chimps also eat bird eggs and chicks. They generally hunt in a group, and they are more successful if the males in the group are cooperative with one another.