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Chimpanzee Diet: How They Hunt and What They Eat

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Among all the apes, only chimpanzees and humans prefer an omnivorous diet. The following AnimalSake article on chimpanzee diet will help you to know more about their eating habits in the wild.
Chimpanzees inhabit the forests of Africa and adapt well to a variety of habitats. Chimpanzees are apes that are closely related to humans. These primates not only share a genetic link with humans, but also have many similar qualities. Apart from communicating in a manner akin to humans that involves hand gestures and non-verbal modes of communication, chimpanzees possess other factors too when it comes to their diet.
The chimpanzees are known to eat over 200 different types of foods. These are extremely intelligent creatures and learn from experience. Although not entirely similar, as mentioned before, one of the qualities is the choice of diet. Let's get to know more about the type of food the chimps prefer.


Although they are widely distributed in a variety of habitats, a major portion of a chimpanzee's diet remains to be of fruits.
They also feed on leaves, buds, stems, pith, bark, and seeds. In spite of this, chimpanzees being skilled frugivores, always prefer fruits over anything else.
The consumption of meat by chimpanzees is fairly common. If not for a vegetarian diet, they eat insects, honey, birds and their eggs, and mammals.
Red colobus monkey, blue duikers, red-tailed monkeys, warthogs, yellow baboons, and bushbucks make up for the mammalian preys; red colobus monkey being the favorite.
Chimps possess excellent memory and have a good sense of direction which they often use in hunting for food or guiding their family back home.

Hunting Strategy

Chimpanzees are well-known for their varied use of tools for the purpose of hunting.
They usually hunt in forest areas where the canopy layer is sparse; this is especially in the case of hunting the red colobus monkey.
There have been instances where the chimps decide to group and hunt for a prey together. Hunting is usually done by cornering the prey before attacking it.
They use easily available materials such as rocks, twigs, leaves, and grass as tools by modifying them depending on the prey.
Chimpanzees use twigs, sans the leaves, and a bark when acquiring honey from the hives of stingless bees.
The twigs and the bark help them to retrieve the honey easily and relatively faster.
To take out honey from the hives of African honeybees, chimps use a similar technique of using sticks or leaves without any leaves.
The only difference here is that since the sting of the African honeybee is far worse than any other bee, chimpanzees use longer and thinner sticks to avoid it for the extraction of honey.
Using the same technique for ant dipping proves to be a tad difficult for the chimp and may take them years to master it.
Chimpanzees also train themselves in learning the skill of cracking nuts. This is often done with the help of rocks, branches of trees, or exposed and hardened tree roots.
When thirsty, chimpanzees crush leaves, soak them in water where they act as a sponge, and then suck the absorbed water out them.
Currently categorized under IUCN's list of endangered species, chimpanzees have a long way before they are placed in the least concern category. As the habitat hugely influences the diet of this primate, it is essentially to conserve African forests for its survival.