Chimpanzees are an ape species commonly found in Western and Central parts of Africa. They relate to the great apes like the gorillas and orangutans and are of two types. The common Chimpanzee and the smaller-sized Bonobo or Pygmy Chimpanzee. These mammals share a very close connection with human beings. In fact, the Chimpanzee’s DNA is up to 98% similar to that of humans. They are highly adaptable, good problem solvers and arguably one of the most intelligent animals on earth. For instance, they can use stones, sticks and tree branches as tools to perform various tasks such as cracking nuts, scrubbing their backs, and even extracting ants from mounds.
Anatomy and appearance
Chimpanzees are large animals with a mature male chimp growing up to 150 pounds. Apart from their palms, feet soles and face, their entire body has thick black hair covering, which offers protection from cold weather and heat from the sun. The hairless parts are lighter in color although they darken as the primate matures. They have forward-facing eyes, large ears with superb hearing ability, and long limbs. Their arms, however, are longer making them able to, ‘knuckle-walk’. Just like humans, Chimpanzees have thirty-two teeth although their canines are slightly longer.
Behavior and lifestyle
Chimpanzees are extremely social, and they live in communities of fifteen to over a hundred members. Interestingly they select their leader based on who can best rally the support of other members and not physical traits. They nest in trees and most of the time spend the day feeding, grooming, playing and swinging on trees. Being wild animals, they are understandably territorial and aggressive towards intruders.
The gestation period of chimpanzees is eight months, and they give birth at any time of the year. After birth, the chimp nurses the infant for at least five years. The child clings on to the mother until it becomes independent. When it reaches the age of thirteen, it is considered an adult.
Chimpanzees make good pets, more so because they are intelligent, adaptable and trainable. They can learn to cook, do tricks, pick items, open doors and communicate using sign language. They, however, need regular visits to the veterinary since they are prone to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Besides, they too need vaccination to keep both the pet and its owner safe. Even though the idea of chimpanzees as a pet is attractive, it deprives the mammal the chance to live a natural chimp life. Besides, there are dangers in raising chimpanzees as pets. They grow up fast, and since they are intelligent, it becomes difficult to satisfy them in the domestic environment. When they become adults, they become incredibly powerful up to five times stronger than humans. They become boisterous, and destructive. If the owner tries to discipline them, the chimpanzees become resentful and at times hostile, biting the owner’s hand or face.
If you have a chimp for a pet, contain it in a durable lockable enclosure where it is safe. Either a room or spacious outdoor filled with ropes, swings and branches for the chimp to be able to be active, have fun, and to get necessary exercise.
- Scientific name: Pan Troglodytes
- Diet: Are omnivores they eat leaves, fruits, eggs, insects, small animals, and nuts. If enclosed, give the chimp, at least, four percent of its body weight.
- Lifespan: 50 years
- Habitat: wet savannah and tropical forests of Central and Western Africa.