Information On Orangutans


Orangutan Information
planet orang-utan

Orang-utan (Malay for "old man in the woods") is now confined to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The arms of an adult span nearly eight feet-a great help when swinging through the trees. Specimens have lived in captivity for over fifty years.

The orangutan is less social than the other apes. Adults travel alone for the most part. His presence is known by his giving a " long call", a set of grumbling sounds ending in a bellow. This lets the other males know that they should stay away. Sometimes females can be attracted to the call.


Of the primates, orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) are second in size only to the gorilla. The average weight of the female is eighty eight pounds and the weight of the male one hundred and sixty five pounds to two hundred and twenty pounds. The coat is shaggy and thin and reddish-brown in color. The fat cheeks is predominate in the males of the specie. The legs are short and weak compared to the arms.

The orangutans travel alone, in pairs, or in small family groups. They are diurnal, as opposed to nocturnal, peaceable, gentle and friendly towards man when unmolested. When provoked they can be dangerous. Orangutans can live to be thirty or forty years old.


Orangutans can use a leaf as a means to quenching their thirst.

Orangutans usually have one young. Their gestation period is eight to nine months. The newborn is usually nursed for a long period of time. Its been reported that in captivity that one was nursed for six years. It takes ten to twelve years for a orangutan to reach full growth.

For the most part their diet consists of fruit with leaves, young birds, bark, seeds and eggs supplementing the diet.

The Future of the Orangutan

At most, 20,000 orangutans still exist in the wild, which is 30 to 50 percent fewer than were estimated 10 years ago. Once ranging throughout Southeast Asia, the species now occupies only small pockets of habitat on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. While their future is tied to their habitat, putting their fate primarily in the hands of the Indonesian and Malaysian people whose land they share, it also depends on the global economics that drive the timber market, as well as the worldwide market for illegal pets.


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