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Description of Orangutan

´╗┐The name "orang-utan", commonly written in the hyphenated form, comes from two Malay words: orang meaning "person", and hutan meaning "forest or jungle." Thus, Malaysian orang-utan means "persons of the jungle." Since these animals are very humanlike and live secretive lives in the dense jungle, the origin of the name makes sense. Orangutans are considered to be a threatened species. Less than twenty thousand are believed left in the wild. Orangutans are the second largest of the apes, and show marked sexual dimorphism. Malesmay grow to be 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and females about half that. The arms of a full-grown male may reach a span of 7 to 8 feet (2.1 to 2.4 meters), and their hands are longer than any other primate. These arms and hands are ideally adapted for the arboreal life. Comparatively, the legs are short and weak; there is no external tail. While adult males with arms extended (swinging through the jungle) may appear to be enormous, when standing erect on the ground they rarely exceed 4.5 feet (1.3 meters) in height. Females, by contrast, reach only 3.5 feet (1.1 meters).

Habitat

Two to three million years ago, orangutans lived as far north as China and as far south as Java. As land bridges formed during the Ice Age, orangutans moved south in search of a warmer climate. Today they can only be found on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Orangutans are the only truly arboreal apes, spending most of their life in forest trees. Their anatomy is well suited for this lifestyle. They walk up trunks using irregularities in the bark to give a grip to fingers and toes, and proceed silently through the middle stories of the forest. These middle stories are especially well suited for horizontal travel, where densely growing trees poke up into the canopy. Often vines are used for quickly moving up and down to get to the next horizontal branches. Orangutans do not jump; they climb and walk the branches on all four legs. They may also sit, recline, or hang in a variety of positions, including suspended from both feet or from one foot and one hand. On the ground, orangutans are normally quadrupedal, although they occasionally walk in the bipedal position. Their weight is borne by clenched fists with the palm touching the ground (unlike gorillas and chimpanzees). Their walk is similar to that of a dog, with diagonally opposed limbs moving forward together. Orangutans live alone, in pairs, or in small family groupings. They build nests in the trees fromgroups of small branches, bent or broken and laid across one another, then lined with smaller branches that are patted down into a circle of approximately three feet in diameter. Nests are placed ten to one hundred feet above the ground and are difficult to spot. Nests may be built new each night when animals are moving about, but may remain intact for several months after being built. While moving and at rest in trees, the orangutan grasps vegetable and animal matter within its reach, testing each one as food. It prefers a variety of jungle fruits as its principal diet, but also eats or chews an infinite variety of buds and leaves, flowers, bark, epiphytes, canes and roots, honey, and even fungi. It forages and eats at leisure, picking fruits with cupped hands and spitting seeds and shells back out of its mouth. Orangutans satisfy most of their need for water by taking it in with their moist food. When on the ground they drink from a stream or lake by bending over from a standing position. They have also been seen to squat down and use their hands to spoon the water into their mouths.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Orangutan