March 12, 2019
Chimps create the best nests
By Libby Smidl
Have you ever wondered where and how chimpanzees sleep? In the wild, chimpanzees sleep in nests high in the tree canopies—roughly 30 feet off the ground— in part to avoid predators.
Like birds, they intertwine and lace together sturdy branches, leaves and twigs to create a comfortable sleeping platform.
Nesting behaviors are important for chimpanzees. In the wild, chimps will spend eight to nine hours in their nests.
At Primarily Primates, we promote daily nest building by providing different nesting materials for the chimps, including blankets, hay and newspaper.
Each chimp has his or her own unique style and approach to nest building. Every nest reflects the chimps’ individual personalities. Some of our chimps, like Laura, prefer to sleep in their own nest. Others, like best friends Violet and Siri, share a nest.
Some chimps spend hours creating the perfect nest. Cheetah begins constructing his nest immediately after dinner and will not stop until it is perfect. Walter, on the other hand, waits until he is ready for bedtime and will lay down on whatever he can find. Shu-Shu has her nesting supplies ready to go at all times—she carries her blankets draped over her back all day, just in case she needs a nap.
Koko prefers to build nests out of paper rather than fresh blankets. He collects newspapers and leaves throughout the day to construct his perfect nest.
It’s always a surprise to see what the chimps want to incorporate in their nest. Jessie always includes toys such as stuffed animals and Kongs in her nest. Grace prefers to form a “ball pit” nest. She collects all of the balls in her habitat and climbs into a fire hose hammock, snuggling into her assortment of balls.
Learn more about the chimps at the sanctuary and see how you can sponsor one here