Orangutan facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Ponginae
Elliot, 1912
Genus: Pongo
Orang-utan bukit lawang 2006
Orangutan climbing

The orangutan (Pongo) is a great ape that has fur with a color between red and brown. There are two species of orangutan. They are from Southeast Asia. There are very few of them left, because loss of the jungle has reduced their habitat. There are orangutans on view at the Singapore Zoo.

The name orangutan comes from two Malay words, orang which means person, and hutan which means forest; so orangutan means person of the forest.


  • Genus Pongo
    • Bornean Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus
    • Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii


Orangutans have red-brown fur. They have long and strong arms. They also have hands that are good for climbing. The Sumatran Orangutan is smaller and has longer hair than the Bornean Orangutan. Orangutans have suffered from forest loss and are on the very edge of extinction.


Orangutans are from the rainforests on the islands Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia. They mostly live up in the trees. They eat fruit, leaves and bark, but also insects, bird eggs and small vertebrate animals. They drink water from rain that has been collected in leaves. Orangutans are not comfortable on the ground since they have to push themselves along with fists. Heavy adults move carefully through the trees, using their flexible feet to grasp the tree branches. Smaller orangutans swing with more ease.


An orangutan's diet consists mainly of fruit, they like ripe fruit. If they cannot find fruit they will eat bark, leaves and termites, rather than move to somewhere else to get food. About 60% of an orangutan's diet is fruit, 25% is leaves, 10% is bark and flowers, and 5% is termites and other insects.


After a pregnancy of 230–260 days the female gives birth to usually one baby, but sometimes two, every eight to nine years. The little ones stay with their mother for years, riding on their mother's back and learning to move through the forest. Like human babies, the young orangutans are playful and affectionate. When they are five or six years old, they become more independent and eventually go off on their own.

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Orangutan Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.