Did you know the Orang-utan is the largest tree-dwelling (arboreal) animal in the world? Like other Great Apes (Chimpanzees and Gorillas), the Orang-utan is highly intelligent and is able to use tools, like sticks, to scratch itself and help it to obtain food. In captivity it has also been taught to communicate using sign language. The Orang-utan is usually solitary, however the female forms close bonds with her offspring.
The name ‘Orang-utan’ comes from a Malay word meaning ‘man of the forest’. The male Orang-utan is almost twice the size of the female and can grow to 170cm tall and 90kg in weight. The male also has a sac in his throat, called a laryngeal sac, which he can inflate to make a loud roaring noise called a ‘long call’. The roar repels other males and also attracts females for courtship.
The Orang-utan is covered in orange to reddish-brown shaggy hair which darkens as the animal becomes older. It has long toes and fingers and a short, opposable thumb. The Orang-utan hooks its fingers over branches and grasps branches with its feet. Powerful arms and legs help the Orang-utan to swing through the forest canopy.