How do Bornean orangutans protect themselves from predators?
Who are the main predators of the orangutan?
Attacks by orangutans on humans are virtually unheard of; contrast this to the chimpanzee whose aggression towards each other and humans is well documented.
Reports of wild great ape fatalities have been very limited, and only two have described wild orangutan deaths. The results of an autopsy performed by a local veterinarian suggested that the cause of death was septicemia because of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of the severely contaminated wounds.
Social Interactions. Orangutans are generally non-aggressive toward humans and each other. Many individuals reintroduced into the wild after having been in managed care are aggressive towards humans. Male-male competition for mates and territory has been observed between adults.
Orangutans are large, but in general they are quite gentle. Adult males can be aggressive, but for the most part they keep to themselves.
Orangutans spend most of their lives in trees and travel by swinging from branch to branch with their long arms. Orangutans on Sumatra, especially younger ones, have to worry about tigers, as well as other predators such as clouded leopards, large pythons, and crocodiles.
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.
Potential predators of orangutans include tigers, clouded leopards and wild dogs. The absence of tigers on Borneo has been suggested as a reason Bornean orangutans are found on the ground more often than their Sumatran relatives.
Orangutans have been observed making simple tools to scratch themselves. They also use leafy branches to shelter themselves from rain and sun, and sometimes even drape large leaves over themselves like a poncho.
In the wild, orangutans use tools such as sticks to extract insects and honey to eat. When it rains they will cover their heads with leaves, which act like an umbrella.
While orangutans have few natural predators, these arboreal apes are capable of defending themselves when needed, using their sharp teeth and exceptional strength.