How Long do Chimpanzees Live?

Old chimpanzee with gray hair.jpgHow long do chimpanzees live? This is a common question. Since the chimp is our closet nonhuman relative, it may be no surprise that its lifespan is similar to that of humans. A chimpanzee can live for about 40 -50 years in the wild and 50 – 60 years in captivity.

Early Life

Female chimpanzee’s pregnancies can last for about 230 days. When a baby chimp is born, they are helpless with very little grasping abilities. At this stage, parental care from the mother is very important for the survival of this chimpanzee.

The baby chimp is carried by the mother from her front side for three to six months. At the age of two years, the baby chimp starts to venture from their mother and explore without any help.

At the age of three, they move farther away from their mother. Chimps are weaned when they are between 3.5 and 4.5 years. This means the young chimpanzee does not need its mother for food and protection. Between the ages of four and five, they start sleeping in their own nests.


In adulthood, male chimpanzees can have their first child when they are about 15 years old. Females mature faster and can have their first child between 13 and 14 years. Chimps can have a child every three to five years.

As a chimpanzee gets older, both males and females start getting gray hair on the top of their heads. Some of them even go bald. However, balding is common in males. Both male and female chimpanzees reproduce until death.

Life Expectancy of a Chimpanzee

A study found that the average life expectancy for chimps across various different study sites was just 15 years. For those that survived adulthood, the expectancy was an additional 15 years. Many wild chimpanzees live beyond 27 years. The oldest chimp was estimated to be more than 60 years old when she died.