The orangutans species are socially solitary and arboreal creatures of the great apes. All three types of orangutans species, including Sumatran, Bornean, and Tapanuli (Newly discovered) – are endangered, mainly due to the loss of habitats.

Fun Facts about Orangutans Species

  • The word orangutan means ‘a person of the forest’ in Malaysian and Indonesian languages.
  • The orangutans’ species have cognitive maps, usually returning to the same place they have visited previously to forage for flowers, insects, and fruits.
  • The term ‘Arboreal Clambering’ is the primary orangutan locomotive.

Physical Description of Orangutans

The orangutans species have sparse, long, reddish or orange hair spread unequally over their bodies. They have flattened noses and large jaws in their concave faces.

The orangutans are arboreal animals and highly adapted to life in the forest trees, with arms longer than the legs. They have grasping feet and hands with long curved toes and fingers. They do not have visible external tails and have characteristic fingerprints.

You can often tell female and male orangutans apart by just looking at them. The females and males have sagging throat sacs that become relatively large in males. The adult males have long body hair and deep chests as compared to females. Besides, the males usually develop significant cheek pads, demonstrating genetic fitness and amplifying the long calls.

The orangutans species can brachiate – swinging a hand over the other – however, they usually move carefully through big trees by walking and climbing. It permits them to divide their weight among the tree’s branches. When swinging, the hands of orangutans make them swift and graceful; however, it makes moving on the ground quite awkward and slow.

While going a long distance, sometimes, orangutans move on the ground as normal-sized tree branches are not always available. They utilize their four limbs that support themselves on the clenched fists’ sides or rarely walk on two legs on the floor. If orangutans want to find water or food, orangutans come down, for instance, if there is a fire or drought.

It is demanding to tell Bornean and Sumatran orangutans apart. Usually, the Sumatran orangutan is light in color and has less pendulous throat sacs and long body hair than the Bornean species; however, it is a reliable way to know the difference between Bornean and Sumatran orangutans species is by observing their chromosomes.

Size of Orangutans Species

The weight of wild females is between 36 and 54 kgs (80 – 120 pounds), while the weight of wild adult males is between 77 and 100 kgs (170 – 220 pounds). The animals present in the zoo are around 23 – 45 kg (50 – 100 pounds) heavy due to a constant supply of good food.

Native Dwelling Place

The habitat of orangutans species is on Sumatra’s Indonesian island and in both Indonesian and Malaysian portions of Borneo island. They are arboreal and reside in all kinds of forests, from the canopy to the floor. Their dwelling places differ from the peat swamp forest close to these levels to mountainous forests around 1.8 km (one mile) above sea level. When humans have shifted to the low elevations – the original habitat of orangutans – orangutans have turned up the mountainsides.


The orangutans’ species are solitary than other great apes and do not have a complex vocal repertoire. These orangutans depend on body language and facial expressions to talk. In the vocalizations, they use belching and kiss-squeak vocalizations where they are loud and upset; long calls are usually used by makes for distant communication.

The long call resonates in the enlarged throat sac of males through a forest. It is utilized to advertise and locate the presence of male to female or warn the other males. It can be listened from half a mile or more (more than one kilometre). Specific vocalization like throat scrapes and nest smacks are regarded as cultural and present in some mammals of wild orangutans species; however, not in all.

Eating/Food Habits of Orangutans Species

The orangutans’ species love fruit and play a crucial role in dispersing different seeds through defecation. Though they spend most of their time eating fruits whenever they are accessible, the orangutans also eat flowers and insects. During times when the fruits are rare, they fall back on a diversity of other food types, including leaves, inner bark, and other vegetables. The orangutans are witnessed eating bird eggs, mineral-rich soil, and rarely small mammals, including slow lorises and rats. The orangutans get water from different sources, including tree leaves and holes that fill with water during rainy times of the year.

When water is demanding to reach, the orangutans’ species chew the leaves to make a sponge absorb the water. In the wild, the orangutans modify tiny sticks that they hold in their mouth while searching in the trees for food like honey. The orangutans show a diversity of geographically variable innovative acts; some are regarded as cultural. Among the behaviors are specific kinds of tool-use, involving stick modification by the Sumatran mammals population to open Neesia fruits and efficiently harvest the seeds.

Orangutans have a lengthy period of infant dependency (weaning around six or seven years of age) with remarkably long inter0birth time (a minimum of 8 years in Sumatran species and a bit short in Bornean mammals). It can be because of the diet. The mother teaches their children where to find food, what food to eat, during which seasons, and in which trees. The young orangutans species should learn about different types of fruits, how to open, and where to find them seasonally.

Usually, the orangutans at the zoo are fed together in the morning. The items of food are crushed and spread on a broad place. At noon, individuals are detached; thus, every animal gets its part of loved food items. The animals are given primate chow, broccoli, carrots, green beans, and greens in the morning. In the noon, they are given green, primate chow, apples, bananas, and a choice of other vegetables and fruits. The forage things placed in hay for orangutans’ species include sunflower seeds, beans, veggies, diced fruits, and air-popped popcorn. Fresh tree trimming (browse) is given regularly.

Social Structure

The orangutans’ species live semi-solitary lives in a wild environment. As they are solitary of the great apes, it must be observed that the orangutans’ species are social and show social tolerance when there is a time of high fruit abundance when they come in aggregations called parties.

The adult females walk through any forest with their offspring. The females cannot live in tight groups; however, they are familiar with and have relationships with other females of the region. The adult males have large ranges of home, overlapping those of different females. Usually, males live alone except when mating with females, making consortships lasting up to many weeks. Besides, male orangutans join other orangutans of various ages and sexes in feeding. People in a specific range appear to interact and know others comfortably while encountering each other.

The cheek pads, males with flanges, also renowned as flanged males, use long calls to entice females and do not encourage other males’ approach. The resonance and throat sacs are for long calls, particular to specific males. The orangutans’ species of all sexes and ages give kiss squeak vocalization, engaging in branch-shaking exhibitions and even uproot the dead branches while confronted by unknown people or when not dwelled to the occurrence of human observers. In the zoo, displays consist of throwing tubs and other things around.

The social structure of orangutan species is linked to food distribution resources, mainly fruits. The orangutan spread out to get sufficient to eat all over the year. As they show more social tolerance, the orangutan mammals are adaptable to live together when there are plentiful food and adequate space for living, like the National Zoo of Smithsonian. The animals can isolate as requires, and when males mature, they can be more territorial and usually should be housed distinctly.

Development and Reproduction of Orangutan Species

Usually, the orangutans species have a single baby, and there are rare twins. Gestation is 7-and-a half to 8-and-a half months. From birth, orangutan infants stick to their mothers as they move through the trees. The orangutans species have the most extended dependence period on the mother of any other land-habitat animal, involving humans. The infant mammals can nurse till they are 6 to 7 years of age. But weaning is variable, based on the mother. It is considered that weaning occurs if food is plentiful and infants can shift to solids.

The female can have a baby about 7 to 9 years, which results in 4 to 5 babies in her life. The inter-birth interval is longer in Sumatran orangutan compared to Bornean species; the researchers still try to find out why it is the case.

After reaching adolescence at 4 or 5 years, these animals can be independent of their mothers. The sexual maturity for females and males in the zoo is almost six years, though it can take nearly ten years or more for a wild female to mature and more prolonged than males. The females can live with their moms until they are into their teenage, permitting them to notice mothering skills as they observe the young sibling being raised. Physical maturity, mainly in males, cannot be reached for many years after sexual maturity.

The occurrence of a dominant male can suppress secondary sexual features (enlarged throat sacs, beards, face pads, and long hair) in other least dominant ones. In some situations, the wild male species can never develop the cheek pads. This sexual feature suppression does not suppress his fertility, and it is shown that the unflanged males are as successful in siring babies as completely flanged males.

Many animals copulate when the female ovulates; however, orangutan species can regularly copulate during many-day long consortships in a wild area or when they dwelled together socially in the zoo. Research shows that ovulating females seek out adult males to copulate. Usually, the males and females mate willingly; however, sometimes, a male can follow the female and forcibly copulate with her. However, both are natural acts for the zoo and wild orangutans species.

Sleep Cycle

Usually, the orangutans build sleeping nests on the ground in different positions of trees. They typically make and sleep in the fresh nest every night; however, they can sometimes rebuild or re-enter the old nest. Besides, they can nap in a less cautiously constructed day nest.


The average expected life for male Sumatran orangutans is almost 25 years, and the male Bornean orangutan is around 27 years. When it comes to females, the life expectancy for Sumatran orangutan is about 32 years, and there is no data available for the expected age of female Bornean orangutans species.

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Amazing Facts About Orangutans Species