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Being Coy Sumatran Orangutan

Being Coy Sumatran Orangutan (Animals)

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Tags: orangutan (15 pics)

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is the rarer of the two species of orangutans. Living on and endemic to Sumatra island of Indonesia, it is smaller than the Bornean Orangutan. The Sumatran Orangutan grows to about 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) tall and 90 kilograms (200 lb) in males. Females are smaller, averaging 90 centimetres (3.0 ft) and 45 kilograms (99 lb).

Compared to the Bornean Orangutan, the Sumatran Orangutan tends to be more frugivorous and especially insectivorous. Preferred fruits include figs and jackfruits. It also will eat bird eggs and small vertebrates. The Sumatran Orangutans spend far less time feeding on the inner bark of trees.

Wild Sumatran Orangutans in the Suaq Balimbing swamp have been observed using tools. An orangutan will break off a tree branch that's about a foot long, snap off the twigs and fray one end. It then will use the stick to dig in tree holes for termites. They'll also use the stick to poke a bee's nest wall, move it around and catch the honey. In addition, orangutans use tools to eat fruit. When the fruit of the Neesia tree ripens, its hard, ridged husk softens until it falls open. Inside are seeds that the orangutans love, but they are surrounded by fiberglass-like hairs that are painful if eaten. A Neesia-eating orangutan will select a five-inch stick, strip off its bark, and then carefully collect the hairs with it. Once the fruit is safe, the ape will eat the seeds using the stick or its fingers. Although similar swamps can be found in Borneo, wild Bornean Orangutans have not been seen using these types of tools.

NHNZ filmed the Sumatran Orangutan for its show Wild Asia: In the Realm of the Red Ape; it showed one of them using a simple tool, a twig, to pry food from difficult places. There is also a sequence of an animal using a large leaf as an umbrella in a tropical rainstorm.

The Sumatran Orangutan is also more arboreal than its Bornean cousin; this could be because of the presence of large predators like the Sumatran Tiger. It moves through the trees by brachiation.


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