Where do chimpanzees live?

April 2, 2017 by Caldwell

Chimpanzees live in the tree. They will move from one tree to another tree without touching the soil. Arboreal foraging is their main source of income. They will sleep on trees and build new nest on every evening. The nest will be used to take rest during the rainy day. When they are travelling longer distances, they will spend most of the time on the ground. Sometimes, they will not be able to find food on trees. Hence, they are compelled to move to the ground so that they will manage the most appropriate food to fulfill their appetite.

Chimpanzee in Forest

Forest as natural habitat

Chimpanzees can survive in rain forests in a very efficient way. They can live on dry trees as well. If they can take shelter and manage food, they will stay on trees. They have the capability to live in woodlands, grasslands rain forest. You can find chimpanzees which live in social communities in various countries including Senegal, Tanzania, and many African countries.

Most of the chimpanzees are present in the western and central part of Africa. They can find omnivorous food very easily by going through the swamplands as well. They choose trees which can give them protection from predators. The climbing abilities of chimps are excellent. Some groups move from one location to another location in search of food.


Chimpanzees will lace branches together and they will accomplish nest building activity. In this process, they will use branches of a single tree or combine the branches of two trees as well. They will choose a strong foundation for building nests. Nests will be built on trees whose diameter is above 15 feet. The nests are built at a height of 10 to 15 feet from the ground. Nests will be used by various groups.

Chimpanzees prepare nests like great apes. They use branches of hardwood trees and other vegetation so that there will be great warmth and comfort. They use these nests for sleeping at nights and for taking rest during day as well.

New nest every evening

Chimpanzee will build a new nest every evening. Even weaned chimpanzee will have the capability to build a nest. The nest will be built every evening and it will be at a different location on each day. However, the existing nests will be reused by addition vegetation. A chimpanzee can construct a new nest in a matter of few minutes. However, you can identify the structure for many months.

Various studies were conducted to understand the nesting behavior of chimpanzees. There will be difference between day nests and night nests. The structural strength of day nest will be inferior to the night nest. A chimpanzee will choose the type of construction and materials as per the environmental considerations and the purpose of the nest. Mothers will train their children in the nest building art. However, you can notice a clear and complex weaving in the preparation of nests.

There will be more number of day nests during rainy season. However, some chimpanzees will rest on the ground during the rainy season as well. Chimpanzees will choose trees very carefully for the creation of nests. The lowest branch of the tree should be far from the ground so that predators will not be able to access their nests very easily. Most of the nest is prepared in areas where the risk from predators is very low. If trees are nested, they will ensure that it is done at the highest distance from the earth. The nest distance from the trunk is based on the physical characteristics of branch.

Great adaptation

Chimpanzees have great adaptability. They can live in rain forests as well as swamps. You can find chimps in dry savanna, rainforest, and woodland savanna as well. Even though tropical rainforest is the natural habitat of chimps, they are also found in forest savanna and mountain forest whose height is up to 3,000 meters. High level of rainfall is received in tropical rainforests. They are lowland equatorial evergreen forests and the rainfall will be more than 2000 mm per year. Chimps live in montane (cloud) forests as well.

The common chimpanzee is also called as pan troglodytes. It is similar to pygmy chimpanzee or bonobo. The habitat of common chimpanzee is very much restricted. They are found in lowland rainforest south of Congo River. The river separates them from bonobo. As chimpanzees are afraid of water the river acts as a great barrier. Chimpanzees can move from one tree to another tree very easily. However, they cannot swim due to heavy weight and they are not meant for living in the water. If they fall into deep water, they will sink like a stone.

Chimpanzee nest

Bedding arrangement

Chimpanzees display unusual skills in the preparation of nests. They prepare beds on trees so that they can sleep in a comfortable environment. They will choose tree branches which are strong and help them retire for the day in a very efficient way. They will build their beds in tree canopies and various kinds of branches procured from other sources will be used in this direction. Chimpanzees will spend 8 to 9 hours per day in these high-quality beds on every night.

As per studies, it was revealed that 74% of the nests were made with Ugandan ironwood. You should understand the fact that the availability of the tree is only 9% in the region. Chimps prefer to sleep on trees as they would like to avoid predators such as lions and tigers. The ironwood offers great strength so that the risk is eliminated to the maximum potential extent. The ironwood has sturdy locking system. Chimps choose trees based on the strength. They should be able to prepare nets very easily as well. As humans would like to manage the best sleep, chimps would love to take solid rest so that they will be able to roam during the day in search of food.

If there is comfortable night sleep, there will be great improvement in memory and cognition as well.

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