Chimpanzees have a number of adaptations that help them to survive and succeed in their natural environment. Chimpanzees are native to many east and central African countries, including Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Within these countries, chimpanzees live in forests and their many adaptations reflect their arboreal lifestyle.
Opposable Big Toe
The chimpanzee's foot has an opposable big toe, which serves just like a thumb on a hand. The big toe grabs branches while climbing through trees and can hold other items. The big toe's opposability does not lend itself well to walking on the ground. However, the being able to hold onto branches is a huge benefit to this arboreal ape.
Sharp Canine Teeth
A chimpanzee's sharp canines come in handy in a variety of ways. When putting on a threatening display to intimidate others, a chimpanzee will flash its teeth in a big grin. However, wild chimpanzees do not smile when they're happy. They show their sharp canines to scare others off. The canines are also useful when catching and eating prey, including monkeys and small deer.
Chimpanzees have long, strong arms. An adult chimpanzee is, on average, five to seven times stronger than a human. These strong arms are useful for helping chimpanzees climb and swing through trees. Chimpanzee shoulders are designed in a way to allow for "brachiation," which helps the chimpanzee swing easily from branch to branch in the forest.
One of the chimpanzee's behavioral adaptations is nest building. In order to avoid predators through the night and sleep safely, chimpanzees build nests toward the tops of trees. In preparation for going to sleep at night, each chimpanzee collects leaves and branches and builds a nest in which to sleep.
Chimpanzees live in communal groups that range in size from a handful up to 50 individuals. There are many benefits to chimpanzees living in groups. A large group of chimpanzees will better be able to protect their food resources and territory. Living in a group also increases a chimpanzee's chance to mate and reproduce.