FEEDING BEHAVIOR

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Feeding behavior in chimpanzees varies seasonally and is greatly influenced by food availability and habitat. Studies have shown great differences in the feeding behavior of chimpanzees over their range, reflecting possible cultural variations between communities.

Differences in food processing techniques and the use of plants for self-medication have also been observed to vary between communities and regions.

Chimpanzees are omnivorous and have very diverse eating habits. While fruit comprises the majority of their daily diet, they also enjoy flowers, bark, roots, tubers, tree gum and insects such as termites, ants and the larvae of several species of bugs.

Hunting by chimpanzees has been seen in many communities but is not a consistent activity or a regular part of a chimpanzee’s diet. With males as the hunters, prey is chosen based on opportunity and includes duikers, young bush buck, baboons and other monkeys. Attacks are usually quick and well coordinated and intense excitement is often evident during a hunt. Competition for the kill is fierce, with the actual killer having rights to the meat and deciding which other chimpanzees will be given a share.

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