Lisa is a Continuous Improvement Coach for her school district and has taught in elementary school for many years. She has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.
There once was a chimpanzee named Ham. Believe it or not, Ham became the first American in space! In 1961, astronauts taught him simple commands and then sent him into orbit to help astronauts with space travel. Chimps are very intelligent animals that instinctively know how to do many things, and can even be taught things like sign language.
Description and Size
Chimpanzees are apes, and they are the closest relatives to humans. They are mammals and have thumbs and fingernails just like us, because they're primates (just like us!) They can stand and walk upright, but they often use the knuckles of their hands to help them.
Full grown, chimps are 4-5 feet tall and can weigh from 70-120 pounds. They are covered in long black or dark brown hair, except they have no hair on their face, feet, or hands. They have large ears which help them hear other chimps in the forest, but they have no tails. This is very unique from other primates.
Habitat and Families
Besides zoos, chimpanzees are only found on the continent of Africa. Twenty-one of the countries in Africa have chimps. They prefer the tropical rainforests, but you can also find them in the woodlands and grasslands. They like to sleep in trees and make nests out of leaves. Chimps are very social creatures that tend to live in families of 10-100 members. That would be a very large family! The male chimpanzees usually lead the group.
Chimpanzees are omnivores, which means they eat plants and animals. They are not picky eaters like humans can be. They love to feast on fruits, seeds, nuts, eggs, and even insects. They are smart enough to take a stick and shape it into a tool that will help them get insects out of a dead log, and they use stones to smash nuts and berries. They have also been known to use leaves to absorb water like sponges. Chimps will also hunt for other monkeys and small antelope. Even though they are very social creatures, they tend to hunt and gather their food alone.
Young chimpanzees are very dependent on their mothers for the first few years of life. When they are first born, they have pink skin under their dark brown, coffee colored hair. They weigh about four pounds, which is the same as a two liter bottle of soda. Babies hang on tightly to their mothers' tummies until they are strong enough to climb on to their backs. This is where they will spend their first two years of life. They drink their mothers' milk until they are three, and don't learn to walk until they are four years old. Young chimpanzees usually stay with their moms until they are around seven years old. This is unusual for most animals.
Chimpanzees are omnivores that intelligently find ways to eat the plants and animals. They are only found in Africa and live in large family groups of 10-100 members. Baby chimpanzees depend on their mothers for everything the first few years of their lives.
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