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Wild Chimpanzee Foundation

What do chimpanzees eat?

Like humans, chimpanzees are omnivores. That means they eat all sorts of vegetarian food as well as animals. The list of food items is long: fruits, nuts, leaves, plants, mushrooms, flowers, insects, meat and more.

Food item Percent
Fruit 59,4
Leaves 21,3
Seeds 5,1
Blossoms 4,1
Insects 4,2
Meat 1,4
Other 4,5

Calculé par Goodall (1986) Chimpanzees of Gombe, page 233

Some foods must be prepared before they are eaten. Some fruits are chewed to form little balls, called ‘wadges’ that the chimpanzees then dip into water before sucking out the juice.

For other foods tools are used. For example, nuts are opened with stones or branches which are used like a hammer and anvil. The nut is placed upon a firm surface such as the root of a tree, and the nut is broken open with the stone or branch.

To eat ants, chimpanzees use another tool. They take a stick, break it off at the right length, and hold this ant rod in the ant nest. Some ants climb up the ant rod and then get slurped off by the chimpanzee.