Orangutans are orange monkeys with a gentle look and funky hairstyles. Their warm eyes appear very empathetic. Orangutans are one of the most peaceful of the monkey species; they like to play and are extremely caring (not only for their own species’ young.) Orangutans are favorites among many animal photographers and end up on the covers of nature magazines very often. If you are one of those people who can’t skip a channel when an orangutan shows up, check out these mind-blowing orangutan facts to make you appreciate these sweet animals even more.
Orangutans Are Lonely Monkeys
Orangutans differ from all other primates in that when they reach maturity they spend most of their time alone. It is different for female orangutans because they always hang out with their babies, but the males spend 90% of their time in solitude when they reach maturity.
Orangutans Live Only on Two Islands
These mild-eyed mammals reside in Borneo and some parts of North Sumatra and are not native to any other place in the world. About 12.000 years ago, they were also spread across China, Indochina, Java, and all across Sumatra; but unfortunately, they vanished from all these territories and now you can only find them in the jungles of Borneo and North Sumatra.
They Are the Largest Fruit-Eaters in the World
Orangutans’ diets are based mainly on fruits. Actually, they eat more than 300 different types of fruit, which they find in their natural habitat.
Only Male Orangutans Have Cheek Pads
Male orangutans develop cheek pads when they’re mature, and these facial features give them a more serious look. In captivity, the cheek pads show up at around the age of thirteen, while in the wild the males change their looks when they turn thirty years old. Once a male orangutan gets his cheek pads, he can’t stand to be around any other male. The cheek pads also serve as acoustic membranes and help males’ voices go through the thick canopy and reach the hearts of the respective females.
Orangutan Mothers Have an Intense Relationship With Their Babies
Amongst non-human mammals, orangutans have the strongest relationships with their mothers. They live on their backs until the age of five but then still continue living and sleeping in their mother’s nest. Until the next offspring is born, mother and baby are each other’s constant companions.
They Have the Longest Birth Interval of All the Mammals on the Planet
Orangutan females give birth every eight years, and some of them every ten years. Also, some females don’t become sexually active until the age of seventeen, which makes the species endangered by their own nature. If a female gets killed or captivated, the entire species suffers the loss.
Orangutans Are Gentle
Orangutans are gentle animals. They will never attack you and are very unlikely to even try to chase you. If you get to see them in their natural habitat, you’ll notice that they like to spend lots of time sitting and do not show any signs of aggressiveness. The only time they become a bit angry is during the mating season, and this only happens to males.
They Are Smart
Orangutans are similar to chimpanzees and gorillas when it comes to using tools and resolving tests of cognitive capability. They are smart and always find a way to open hard-shell fruits by using tools mostly with their mouth.
Orangutans Can Talk
There is a local Indonesian legend that says that orangutans can talk the same way humans do, but they prefer not to use their speech because then the humans would make them work. Knowing how intelligent they are, it would be really funny if they did decide to talk one day.
They Are Only Orange in the Sunlight
Orangutans are bright orange only if you see them under strong sunlight; but if you see them hidden in the jungle canopy where there is no sun at all, they look darker.
If you want to see an orangutan in the wild, you better start planning your trip to Borneo or Sumatra. Borneo is the best option for seeing orangutans in their natural habitat. Most of the population lives there, so you will have a greater chance of seeing one. Good luck!