Orangutans: Interesting Facts to Know

Orangutans are beautiful apes which have several different characteristics than other apes, such as chimpanzees and gorillas. There are many interesting orangutan facts that differentiate it from other mammals and make it unique.

Orangutans are the only Great Apes to live in Asia. In fact, they live in Indonesia and Malaysia and are found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo.

The word “orangutan” comes from the languages of these two countries and means “person of the forest”. Orangutans spend their life in rainforests swinging from tree to tree. They move very gracefully on trees even though they are significantly heavy; as an adult male orangutan can weigh up to 82kg! They are in fact the largest arboreal animals as they can grow up to five feet.

Another distinctive factor of orangutans is their reddish-brown hair, as they are the only apes whose hair is not brown or black. Male orangutans also have cheek pads which make recognizing the sexes of orangutans easier.

Their diet is also somewhat different to that of other apes as since orangutans spend the greatest part of their life on trees they eat mainly fruit. They also sleep in the trees, where they build nests each night from twigs and leaves.

Another interesting fact about orangutans is that they tend to be solitary. While other apes live in groups, orangutans very often live alone. The only bonds between orangutans are those between a mother and its offspring. This bond tends to last for a long time as baby orangutans may be carried by their mothers until they are five years old. They may also keep on being breastfed until they are eight!

In fact, orangutans have the slowest life of all mammals as they take the longest to grow and they even reproduce very slowly.

Like all other Great Apes, orangutans are highly intelligent. They do not only use tools to help them get their food and go under leaves to help shelter from the rain, but they are also known to use objects in other creative ways. They may, for example, put things over their head in a playful manner, much like humans do, and detach large leaves from trees and wrap them around their bodies like a poncho to help them stay dry when it is raining.

Like humans, orangutans are Great Apes, which, however differ from most others in various ways. These beautiful, arboreal creatures are extremely intelligent and it must be our duty to preserve them.

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