5 Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Orangutans

Orangutans are no doubt creatures of extreme wonder; their unique face, long weird arms, and cute facial expressions are some of the reasons tourists adore these beautiful primates. However, besides their prominent external features and the fact that they’re “monkeys,” most people know little to nothing about these mammals.

Fortunately, this article aims to enlighten you and reveal five impressive facts you probably didn’t know about Orangutans. So hold on tight as we take a virtual tour into the world of one of the earth’s coolest creatures.

1. There Are Three Species of Orangutans

When most people hear about the Orangutan, their minds often reveals a picture of the popular Bornean Orangutan and think that it’s the only one of its kind. Little do they know that the name accommodates three species, which include the Bornean Orangutan, Tapanuli orangutan, and the Sumatran orangutan.

Although each specie has its distinctive characteristics, they’re often considered to look-alike by tourists. For example, the Bornean and Sumatran orangutan share almost the same facial features and behavior. Still, the Sumatran Orangutan has longer fur and cultivates stronger social bonds than its Bornean relative.

It’s also worth noting that the Tapanuli Orangutan is the rarest and most endangered Orangutan species, with only 800 currently discovered on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.

2. Orangutans Occur Naturally In Only Two Places

Although the Orangutan is one of the earth’s most popular primates, it only exists in two places in the entire world – the Borneo and Sumatra island in Indonesia. These resourceful creatures make the trees their dwelling place, but due to massive deforestation threatening their natural habitat, they are gradually becoming an endangered species.

This endangerment prompted wildlife enthusiasts and other volunteers to take the preservation of the species into their own hands. If you’re going to capture some orangutans for the sake of conservation, then you’ll want to make sure you keep them in clean and spacious cages.

You’ll also need a compact plasma cutter to help fix damaged cages while conveying the Orangutans to their new home. Here’s a brief list of some of the best plasma cutters in the market that are both affordable and safe to use.

3. Orangutan DNA Is 97% Similar To Humans

According to information revealed by the National Institute of Health, U.S,”…orangutans and humans share 97% of their DNA sequence, according to an analysis of the great ape’s genome published today by an international group of scientists.”

The research further reveals that humans and Orangutans share 28 similar features, such as the presence of thickly enameled molar teeth with a flat surface, similarly shaped shoulder blades, asymmetries between the left and right side of the brain, and more. Little wonder why we humans enjoy gazing at these magnificent creatures, it’s probably because we’re looking at a mammal closely related to us.

4. Orangutans Are The Humans Of The Forest

The Orangutan’s name originates from the Malay Words “Orang Hutan,” meaning “Human/Man of the forest,” which is quite befitting because of the creature’s human-like characteristics. 

Although the primate shares 97% of our genome and a few of our characteristics, the Orangutan has an extremely long arm that reaches up to 7ft in length, which it uses to navigate its surroundings branch-by-branch with unbelievable ease.

During night time, they snooze in their leafy nests far away from hungry predators like leopards and other meat-eaters.

5. Orangutans Spend Most Of Their Time In The Trees

Orangutans wildlife experts and scientists categorize the Orangutan as “arboreal,” which is an animal that spends most of its time in the trees. The category is entirely appropriate for the Orangutan since it spends 95% of its lifetime in the trees.

Living in the trees is an excellent strategy for the Orangutan to avoid ground-based predators like the leopard and other large carnivores. Besides, their long limbs and superb tree-climbing skills enable them to do almost everything in the air like sleeping, eating, traveling, among other activities.

They also possess an ability called “quadrumanous scrambling,” which allows them to use their feet just like their hands, thus making navigating across branches a hassle-free task. Their opposing thumbs and big toes, similar to humans, also gives them the ability to grab and hold onto tree branches quickly.


I believe you’ll no longer consider the Orangutan as just another “monkey” now that you’ve seen the beauty and awesomeness of the primate. Unfortunately, these creatures are gradually becoming endangered due to deforestation for palm tree plantations.

However, thanks to a few organizations like Project Orang who have begun numerous campaigns to raise awareness about the degenerating habitat of the Orangutans, we have reasons to believe that the Orangutan will not go extinct.


Wikipedia – Orangutan

CBC Kids – 6 Things You May Not Know About Orangutans

National Geographic Kids – 10 Facts Of Orangutans

Study.com – Why Is The Bornean Orangutan Endangered

World Wide Life – Orangutan Species

National Institute Of Health – NIH-funded scientists publish orangutan genome sequence