Just like us, chimpanzees require a diet of various types of foods.
includes fruits, such as Saba Florida, nuts, leaves, and even meat!
Think about all of the different foods that you eat
and where you get these foods. Well a chimp cannot go to a grocery
store, which means their habitat, has to hold all of these foods,
which means they should have a high biodiversity. A forest with high
biodiversity is often a very healthy forest capable of supporting
many forms of wildlife, including chimpanzees and the food they
need. If the forest doesnít have enough food, chimpanzees will move
to where there is food.
Chimpanzees can benefit the forest as well. This type of
relationship, where both parties benefit, is called a mutualistic
One example of this relationship involves the African
Nutmeg plant. Chimps will eat the whole African Nutmeg to help them when they have an upset stomach. After they
eat the nut, the nut will travel through their digestive system to
strip off the fuzzy outer layer After the chimpanzee poops out the
hard nut (ewww!) the nut can now grow into a seedling because the
chimpanzeeís digestive system took off the outside of the seed.
Chimpanzees are only found on one continent in
the world. They live in the dense jungle forest of Africa. Older forests tend to
make the best habitats for them because more plant species have had
time to grow and fill in the layers of the forest. This is important
because chimpanzees rely on forests with many layers.
The layers of
the forest begin with the ground layer, otherwise known as the
forest floor, moving up is the understory, the canopy, and the
emergent layer which pops up above the canopy layer at the very top.
Chimpanzees use many of these layers, but can be found mostly on the
ground layer or in the understory. Chimpanzees sometime use the
canopy layer of the forest to look out for other chimps, predators,
or to chase red colobus monkeys that they can eat. Chimps use all of
the layers of the forest in many ways, for example, the young chimps
will use the intertwining branches and vines like a large jungle gym
while their mothers groom others and watch them. Think about when
you play with other kids on a team or on the playground. You will be
playing with the other kids while all of your mothers are talking to
each other watching to make sure you donít get into trouble, just
like the chimpanzees!
The lower layers of the forest are used by the
chimps to travel far distances. Here they can also find some low
growing food. Chimps will spend about the same amount of time in
each layer of the forest except at night where they will sleep in
Tropical forests donít have four seasons like most of
us are used to; instead they have only two seasons, the rainy season
and the dry season. During the rainy season
there is a lot of water for plants to use so they can grow new
leaves, branches, and fruits for chimpanzees use and consume for
food. During the dry season the plants donít have as much water so
they donít grow as much but they stay green. When itís the rainy
season the chimps will travel out of the mountains and travel to the
low lands to eat rainy season fruits and some of the insects and
other animals that gather to eat from this forest buffet. When itís
the dry season there is less food for the chimp to eat so the whole
troop will have to travel to other areas in order to find food. This
means that chimps need large forests to live in to make sure they
have enough food to eat all year.
Chimps also visit other areas like
swamps, savannas and woodlands to find other sources of food to eat.
Iím sure you can tell chimps like to move around and eat a lot of
Message from CAC'ers
through the forests of Gombe and Mahale and witnessed
firsthand the chimpanzees making nests.
We also got to sample Saba Florida (left), one of the fruits that