Wild Chimpanzee Foundation

How do chimpanzees grow up?

Chimpanzee mothers usually give birth to one baby at a time. When a mother with a new-born baby meets the other community members for the first time, everybody is very excited to meet the new member. The baby is carried backside down by the mother under her belly for the first month so that the baby can be breast-fed easily. After 6 to 12 months the baby starts to explore its neighbourhood more and more. The baby makes contact with play partners, but the mother always stays very close to her baby.

After one year, the little child is carried on the mother's back, but it will take four more years before the child is weaned by its mother. Mothers wean their children when they get pregnant again (after about five years).

The child has to learn a lot of difficult and important things: e.g. which fruits it can eat, how to understand the other chimpanzees, how to make and use tools, and much more. The learning process is hard and long. Some abilities the children have to learn over many years.