Species: P. pygmaeus, P. abelii, P. tapanuliensis (Bornean Orangutan, Sumatran Orangutan, Tapanuli Orangutan)
Common Names: Orangutan, Orang-utan, Orang Utan, Ourang-outang, Orangutang
Compared to other “great apes”, orangutans spend much more time in trees. They are clumsy and less coordinated on the ground, but are quite skilled at swinging and hanging from trees in the rainforests in which they live.
Orangutans eat mainly fruit, but also may eat leaves, and occasionally even eggs.
Orangutans are more solitary than most other great ape species, but do form small groups usually consisting of a mother and her offspring.
Dominant male orangutans in an area will develop their characteristic cheek pads and throat pouches, which they will use to attract mates with their calls.
Pregnancy lasts around 9 months and usually results in the birth of one baby. Infants are raised mostly by their mother, whose underside they will cling to for much for the first few months of their lives.
Orangutans are large apes that grow to about four and a half feet tall. They have very long arms, that can span as much as six and a half feet wide. Their hair is a reddish-brown coloration, which is more orange in younger apes and becomes darker as they grow older.
Male orangutans have large hairless cheek pads on their faces, as well as throat pouches which they use to make loud calls that carry over long distances.
The different orangutan species are mostly similar in appearance, but have some noteworthy differences. The heads of Sumatran orangutans are usually thinner and longer than Bornean orangutans, and the hair of the Sumatran is longer. Tanapuli orangutans tend to have flatter, wider faces and more wiry hair than other orangutan species.
Orangutans are large members of the “great apes” family, Hominidae. This family also includes gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans.
Their were long known to be differences between the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, but they were not confirmed as a fully separate species until 2001. The Tapanuli orangutan was officially designated as a separate species in 2017.
The word “orangutan” comes from the Malay language, and means “person of the forest”.