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An Orangutan Swings at the Racine Zoo in Racine, WI

An Orangutan plays in it's enclosure at the Racine Zoo in Racine, Wisconsin.

Orangutan (pongo pygmaeus) - The Malay word orangutan means "person of the forest." These long-haired, orangish primates, found only in Sumatra and Borneo, are highly intelligent and are close relatives of humans.

Orangutans have an enormous armspan. A male may stretch his arms some 7 feet (2.1 meters) from fingertip to fingertip—a reach considerably longer than his standing height of about 5 feet (1.5 meters). When orangutans do stand, their hands nearly touch the ground.

Orangutans' arms are well suited to their lifestyle because they spend much of their time (some 90 percent) in the trees of their tropical rain forest home. They even sleep aloft in nests of leafy branches. They use large leaves as umbrellas and shelters to protect themselves from the common rains.

These cerebral primates forage for food during daylight.

(Source: National Geographic



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This page updated or reviewed in March 2011