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Chimpanzee Behavior
Nest Making
Every night when chimps go to bed, they make new nests, often high up in trees. Dr. Jane often observed chimps making these nests, choosing a firm foundation in a tree and bending over smaller branches onto this foundation, keeping each one in place with his or her feet. Chimpanzees then tuck small, leafy twigs into the rim of the nest before lying down, often only to get back up and add an extra “pillow” or two in a leafy handful.
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Jane's observation:
At that time of year the chimps usually went to bed late, making their nests when it was too dark to see properly through binoculars, but sometimes they nested earlier and I could watch them from the Peak. I found that every individual, except for infants who slept with their mothers, made his own nest each night. Generally this took about three minutes: the chimp chose a firm foundation such as an upright fork or crotch, or two horizontal branches. Then he reached out and bent over smaller branches onto this foundation, keeping each one in place with his feet. Finally he tucked in the small leafy twigs growing around the rim of his nest and lay down. Quite often a chimp sat up after a few minutes and picked a handful of leafy twigs, which he put under his head or some other part of his body before settling down for the night. One young female I watched went on and on bending down branches until she had constructed a huge mound of greenery on which she finally curled up.

Source: In The Shadow of Man, pp. 29-30.

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