Chimpanzees live in Africa in habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to bamboo forests. Though chimps look like monkeys, they aren't. The difference between a chimpanzee and a monkey is the lack of a tail. Monkeys have tails. Chimpanzees have opposable thumbs like a human and can use their toes to grab objects. Chimps can also walk upright like a human, but only for a short distance.
Chimpanzees once lived by the millions. Now, chimps live in a population of up to 300,000 spread throughout Africa, according to Save the Chimps. Along the Ivory Coast of Africa, a chimp population decreased by 90 per cent in only 20 years. Due to habitat destruction, disease, logging and hunting, the chimps may one day face extinction.
Chimps eat a wide range of foods. They love fruits and plants, but will eat bugs and meat. A chimp may also eat bark from a tree. Chimps will gather socially to spend a large portion of their day looking for food. They are smart and can remember where to look for the best fruits. After hunting for food, the food is divided and shared with the group in a communal effort.
Chimps can make tools for eating. A chimp may shape a stick to get insects out from the ground or a log. A chimp also can use a rock to break open items such as nuts. A chimp can use a leaf as a napkin, or even to drink water from. It can take years for a chimp to learn how to use a tool. Learning how to use a tool gets passed down to each chimpanzee.
Chimpanzees live in small communities, with a male being the dominant leader. A chimpanzee can live to be 60 years old. Much like humans, chimps form tight social bonds with each other. Chimps will hold hands and groom each other, as a sign of showing their affection. Chimps can communicate with high-pitched hoots, facial expressions and hand gestures. In captivity, chimps have learnt sign language to communicate with their human caretakers.
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