Fun Sumatran Orangutan Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Jan 09, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Find out more about Sumatran orangutan facts by reading ahead.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.1 Min

Sumatran orangutans are a species of orangutans that are found only in the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Sumatran orangutans are almost excessively arboreal, so they live among the trees of tropical rainforests.

The female Sumatran orangutans usually don’t like to travel on the ground, while the male Sumatran orangutans do it so rarely.

The Sumatran orangutans have five stages of life that are distinguished by different behavioral and physical features. The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is more social than its Bornean orangutan and there are different groups that come together to feed on the mass amounts of fruits.

Due to activities like illegal pet trade and felling of trees, the Bornean orangutans are facing the threat of extinction. The loss of orangutan habitat in north Sumatra is responsible for dwindling orangutan populations in the regions.

North Sumatra forests are being cleared for palm oil plantations and human habitation. As the orangutan population is rapidly declining, it has now become a threatened species that requires concerted conservation efforts. Let’s have a look at some of the interesting facts about the Sumatran orangutan.

Sumatran Orangutan Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sumatran orangutan?

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is classified with great apes, gibbons, and humans in the family. The Malay word orangutan means a person of the forest. They are highly intelligent and are close relatives of humans.

What class of animal does a Sumatran orangutan belong to?

Sumatran orangutan, scientific name Pongo abelii, belongs to the class of mammals. The Sumatran orangutans are the only great apes that are said to occur outside of Africa. There are two species of orangutans; Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan.

How many Sumatran orangutans are there in the world?

The Bornean orangutans are now estimated to be at about 1,04,700 on the basis of geographic range, and the Sumatran orangutans are about 7,500, which makes them a critically endangered species.

Where does a Sumatran orangutan live?

Sumantran orangutans are found only in the rain forests and spend their entire lives in trees by swinging in treetops and building their nests for sleeping.

What is a Sumatran orangutan's habitat?

The Sumatran orangutan’s habitat is that is in rain forests and they live their entire life on trees. The females do not travel on the ground, and adult males do it very rarely.

Who do Sumatran orangutans live with?

As compared to other apes who have very strong social bonds, Sumatran orangutans are considered to be semi-social. They do hang out with the other orangutans, they like to live alone for most of their life. They prefer to remain alone rather than living in a group.

How long does a Sumatran orangutan live?

The female Sumatran orangutans live for 44-53 years in the wild, whereas the male Sumatran orangutans have a life span of 47-58 years. The female Sumatran orangutans are even able to give birth at up to 53 years of age.

Wild orangutans prefer to live on trees with strong branches as they move around trees by jumping off the branches.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction occurs when the male and female Sumatran orangutan have sexual contact with each other. Sexual contact is more often initiated by the female and usually tends to choose the dominant flanged male. The males have the capacity to mate with more than one female.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Sumatran orangutans is critically endangered as their population is decreasing due to illegal pet trade and felling of trees in Sumatran forests for palm oil plantations and human settlements.

At present, their total population is estimated at around 7,300 orangutans with around 70 in Bukit Tigapuluh National Park where focused reproduction programs are being conducted. Efforts are on to control the illegal trade and illegal logging that is altering the orangutan population in the long term.

Forest fires are also playing a role in the destruction of their habitat.

Sumatran Orangutan Fun Facts

What do Sumatran orangutans look like?

Sumatran orangutans have bright orange fur, long arms and short legs, with their feet being similar to their hands. They have long reddish hair that covers most of the Sumatran orangutan’s gray skin. Their arms are longer than their legs. the cheek pads in males are slimmer than those in females.

A Sumatran orangutan has orange hair.

How cute are they?

Yes, they are quite cute as they have a different face as compared to that of other animals. They share 97 percent of their DNA with humans and laugh and smile just like us which makes them look even more cute.

How do they communicate?

The Sumatran orangutans communicate in both verbal and non-verbal ways. Their animal behavior experts say that non-verbal communication appears to be a more dominant form of communication rather than verbal communication.

How big is a Sumatran orangutan?

The Sumatran orangutan is 36-52 in tall. They usually look big in size that might scare human beings from far away. They are also heavy in weight and are huge as compared to the other species of their breed.

How fast can a Sumatran orangutan move?

They can’t move fast because of their body weight. They usually keep swinging from one tree to another. They are not fast and cannot move fast because of the way their body is created.

How much does a Sumatran orangutan weigh?

Sumatran orangutans weigh around 100 lb and the Bornean orangutans weigh around 110-220 lb. As they are large arboreal animals in the world, they usually weigh a lot and are usually seen hanging on the tree instead of moving here and there.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are three different species of orangutans, which are the Sumatran orangutans (pongo abelii), the Bornean orangutans (pongo pygmaeus) and the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis). The males are called male orangutans and the females are called female orangutans.

What would you call a baby Sumatran orangutan?

A baby Sumatran orangutan is called an infant or baby, just like a human baby. When the baby Sumatran orangutan is born, they weigh approximately three to four lb and stay with their mother until they grow up. The female Sumatran orangutans do not leave their infants until they get mature enough.

What do they eat?

The diet of Sumatran orangutans consists of 60% fruits. Their diet includes lychees, mangosteens, mangoes, and figs. They also eat young leaves and also shoot insects, soil, tree bark, and eggs and small vertebrates sometimes. They are very strong and are like humans so they eat according to their weight and how much nutrition is needed for their body.

Are they loud?

No, they are not loud. The Sumatran orangutans use a variety of vocalizations in their communication in order to avoid attracting the attention of the other Sumatran orangutans and other predators.

They use loud scratches that serve as a low emergency signal in the mother-offspring coordination.

They make a variety of different sounds that includes a kiss squeak when agitated and a raspberry during building the nest and the newborn infants make a soft hooting call. They make sounds so as to communicate with the other orangutans and with their infants as well.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they definitely do not make good pets. Firstly, the orangutan pet trade is one of the major reasons for the decline in the number of orangutans species. The Sumatran orangutans are so much like humans, and possess similar problems to humans.

It is advisable to not pet Sumatran orangutans as there are many challenges in petting them. Also, having a Sumatran orangutan as a pet is very costly and being able to afford to pet it is very difficult. It is illegal to have Sumatran orangutans as pets.

Did you know...

The Sumatran orangutans are a species of orangutans and are only found in dense and tropical forests of Sumatra. They prefer areas which have an abundance of food and usually keep hanging around trees.

Their arms are incredibly strong and long, and their arms are comparatively long as compared to their legs. The orangutan is one of humankind’s closest relatives and looks similar to human beings and also possesses some of the physical traits of human beings.

They are the largest arboreal animal in the world. Sumatran orangutans are more social than the Bornean orangutans. Orangutans are the heaviest tree-dwelling animal. They also eat with their feet sometimes.

The young Sumatran orangutans stay with their mother and learn everything that they need to know. The infants stay with their mothers until they develop their skills and start living on their own. The males are majestic and develop flaps of fatty tissues on both sides of their faces.

Sumatran orangutans also use different tools like sticks to get bees, ants and termites out of the tree holes. They are very clever in that they make gloves out of the leaves when they need to pick up any  items with spikes or thorny branches. Durian is a fruit that has huge spikes.

It is the favorite fruit of Sumatran orangutans and they have a smelly taste in food. Sumatran orangutans are believed to be unique in the ape world. They are the largest tree living mammal.

Are Sumatran orangutans endangered?

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered as their population is decreasing day-by-day. With less than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans and 800 tapanuli orangutans remaining in the wild, they are becoming increasingly endangered.

One of the main reasons that Sumatran orangutans are endangered is the habitat destruction. They have a small geographic range, and it has been restricted significantly over the past decades.

The Sumatran orangutan habitat of huge sections of their habitat has been cleared for oil palm plantations. The Bornean orangutan is estimated at about 104,700 based on different geographic ranges.

Different types of orangutan

There are two types of orangutans which are Sumatran orangutan and Bornean orangutan. The recently discovered  orangutan is Tapanuli orangutan. The Sumatran orangutan is found only in the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and is rarer than the Bornean orangutan.

The Bornean orangutans is a species of orangutan that is native to Borneo, native to Asia. Bornean and Sumatran differ a little in their appearance and also behavior. They both have red fur and longer facial hair.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Sumatran orangutan coloring pages.

Sumatran Orangutan Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Leachy, mangosteens, mangoes, and figs

What Type of Animal were they?

Young leaves and shoots, soil, tree bark, and also eggs

Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

95-105 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

pockets of forests on the islands and rainforests

Where Do They Live?

southeast asian islands of borneo and sumatra

How Long Were They?


How Tall Were They?

36-52 in







Scientific Name

Pongo abelii

What Do They Look Like?

Long arm, short legs, long hair

Skin Type

Long fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

illegal pet trade, increasing palm oil plantations

What is their Conservation Status?

Critically Endangered

southeast asian islands of borneo and sumatra

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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