Chimpanzee Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lisa Hanson

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.

One of the most common primates known is the Chimpanzee. Their intelligence and social behavior make them a lot like humans. In this lesson you will learn about the habitat, families, diet, and their young.

Amazing Chimpanzees

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.

Chimps have thumbs and fingernails just like humans.
Chimpanzee hands

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.

Adult chimpanzees stand up right, but use their knuckles to help.
Adult Chimpanzee

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.

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