The Chimpanzee Diet

The holidays have always been a time for eating to excess, and around here, it’s no different. The chimpanzees have the ability to splurge, however, because during the other parts of the year they eat a balanced, healthy diet. When it comes time to make those New Years’ resolutions, why not make a resolution to switch to the “chimpanzee diet”?

The chimpanzees here at CHCI eat three well-balanced meals during each day, supplemented with a number of healthy snacks in between. Before each meal, the chimpanzees are served an appetizer of what we call CRACKERS in ASL. The crackers are protein-based biscuits that contain all the nutrients a chimpanzee might need. The chimpanzees are also served vitamins in the morning before their breakfast. The chimpanzees take one multi-vitamin and two calcium supplements each day.

Large crackers

Small crackers

 Vitamins & calcium

In the morning, interns at CHCI serve a fruit-based meal: on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that consists of a bowl of sliced fruit, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays it consists of a fruit smoothie. Based on the season, our current supply, or the chimpanzees’ own likes and dislikes, interns can select from a wide variety of fruit ingredients. Dar and Loulis are currently enjoying pomegranate arils in the fruit bowls, while Tatu seems to enjoy smoothies made with apples.

Fruit Bowl


At noon each day, the chimpanzees at CHCI are served a bean-based soup. To make the soup, interns chop up various vegetables (particular favorites include onions, broccoli, and potatoes) and put them into a large pot with one and one-half cup of beans. The type of bean used for the soup changes each day, and includes kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and even garbanzo beans. The beans are soaked overnight and placed in the pot with the vegetables and a little added water. The soup cooks from eight in the morning until noon when it is served. Before the soup is served to chimpanzees, it is ground up to ensure that the chimpanzees eat all of the nutritious vegetables and beans in the soup. Otherwise, they would pick out the vegetables they dislike! If the chimpanzees eat enough soup, they are served one or two fresh vegetables.


In the afternoon, the chimpanzees are served a carbohydrate-based dinner. This can include basic carbohydrates such as rice, oatmeal, or farina, but can also be more elaborate. Some dinners have included multigrain breads, pancakes, tortillas, or pasta as their carbohydrate base. Dinner is a time for interns to be creative with the chimpanzees’ meal, adding fruits, vegetables, or other items.

Pasta Primavera

Apple, banana, and peanut butter pancakes


A balanced diet allows the chimpanzees at CHCI to live happily and healthily!

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