How Strong is an Orangutan?

Orangutans are fascinating creatures and have been around for millions of years. They are the largest arboreal apes in the world and can live up to 60 years in the wild. A special characteristic of orangutans is that they spend most of their time in trees, unlike other apes who spend more time on the ground. 

One of the smartest animals, they are known for their ability to use tools, make and use fire, and even use sign language to communicate. In this article, we will learn how strong an orangutan is.

How Strong is an Orangutan?

Orangutans are not just the largest living arboreal ape, they are also the strongest. An orangutan’s arm is stronger than an elephant’s leg and their arm span is around 6 feet and can hold up to 70 pounds with their two arms. 

Orangutans can also run at speeds of 40 miles per hour and jump up to 18 feet in the air. They are able to swing through trees with ease and use their powerful arms to pick up objects. 

The largest tree-dwelling mammal, orangutans are known for their distinctive red fur and long, powerful arms that help them swing from tree to tree. 

They can lift up to three times their own body weight. They have a bite force of 575 PSI compared to a human’s bite force of only 162 PSI. Orangutans are some of the strongest animals in the world. 

They can lift up to 500 pounds, which is more than a human can do. They can use their arms to swing through the trees while carrying up to 30 kg, and even carry a baby orangutan. 

Orangutans are also known for their impressive jumping ability. They can jump up to ten meters and then land on their feet with no damage to their bones.

What is an Orangutan?

The orangutan is a large arboreal (tree-dwelling) primate, covered with reddish-brown hair. They have a long, orange face with a black nose and prominent cheek pads. 

Their eyes are large and almond-shaped, and they have a long, prehensile tail that helps them balance on branches. They have opposable thumbs and big toes which are good for grasping. 

Orangutans are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They eat mostly fruit, but also consume leaves, bark, and insects. In the wild, orangutans can be found swinging from trees, catching fish with their hands, and swimming across rivers. 

They are also known to use their strength to smash coconuts open with their hands. There are three species of living orangutans:

  • Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
  • Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii)
  • Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis)

The Bornean orangutan is the most studied and well-known of the three types of orangutans. These animals are the largest arboreal mammals in the world, living on trees and eating fruit, leaves, flowers, and even insects. 

The Bornean orangutan has a diet of over 100 different types of plants. In contrast, the Sumatran orangutan is more terrestrial and eats mostly fruit, leaves, flowers, and insects. 

The Tapanuli orangutan is one of the rarest types of orangutans and has been found only in the Tapanuli Mountains in North Sumatra. The Tapanuli orangutan is the most critically endangered species of the great ape.

What is their typical diet?

A typical orangutan diet consists of fruit, leaves, and insects. They also have a preference for raw food. Orangutans eat about 70% of their diet from leaves, which are mostly found in the canopy of the forest. 

Fruit makes up the other 30% of their diet, with the majority of fruit eaten during the rainy season. Insects make up the rest of their diet, which is mostly made up of termites and ants.

What is their average lifespan?

The lifespan of an orangutan depends on the location they live in and their living conditions. But the average lifespan of an orangutan is between 45 and 60 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity. 

Orangutans are one of the most intelligent animals, with the ability to learn and remember many different behaviors. They have a large brain-to-body size ratio, which is why they are able to think and reason in complex ways. 

The orangutan can use stones as tools to crack open nuts and shells, which they use as food. They are also very good at using sticks as tools to get food from high places.

Why do orangutans have such a strong bite force?

The orangutan has a surprisingly strong bite force, especially for its size. The average orangutan has a bite force that is 4 times greater than that of a human. 

This is due to the fact that their jaws are very wide and thick, which gives them much more surface area to bite with. The orangutan’s teeth are flat and sharp with a single root, which gives them much more strength than humans. 

Orangutans also have powerful neck muscles that allow them to reach around branches and leaves to grab prey in a way that humans cannot.

Why are orangutans endangered?

The orangutan is a critically endangered species, with a population estimated at around 54,000 individuals in the wild. It is the only great ape that lives in Asia and is found in only two places on Earth: Borneo and Sumatra. 

The main cause of its decline is because have been hunted for their meat, and their fur. They are also threatened by the encroachment of human development, particularly deforestation for commercial timber and palm oil plantations. 

Because of this, orangutans are losing their habitat and food sources. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has ranked the orangutan as one of the world’s most endangered species.

Lastly, female orangutans carry their babies up until 7 years to teach them everything they need to know to survive. Thus, orangutans are endangered because they have long birth intervals between 7 to 9 years; the longest of all land mammals. 


The orangutan is a symbol of the tropics. It is a large, arboreal, predominantly herbivorous mammal that belongs to the same family as humans. Orangutans have very distinctive faces with wide cheek pads and long noses. They are usually covered in orange-red hair and have powerful arms and legs. They are the only exclusively Asian great ape, and they are the largest living arboreal animal in the world. They are one of the strongest animals in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How Strong is an Orangutan?

Are orangutans the heaviest tree-dwelling animal?

The Orangutan is the heaviest tree-dwelling animal. The Orangutan can weigh up to 500 kilograms and its arm span can be up to 3 meters. Orangutans are also the largest arboreal animals and spend almost all of their time in trees.

How do orangutans sleep?

The orangutans build nests for around 10 minutes to sleep in. 

Are orangutans stronger than gorillas?

No, orangutans are weaker than gorillas. Gorillas are stronger than orangutans because they are bigger and heavier. They also have better strength and intelligence.


Galdikas, B. M. (1988). Orangutan diet, range, and activity at Tanjung Puting, Central Borneo. International Journal of Primatology, 9(1), 1-35.

Husson, S. J., Wich, S. A., Marshall, A. J., Dennis, R. D., Ancrenaz, M., Brassey, R., … & Singleton, I. (2009). Orangutan distribution, density, abundance and impacts of disturbance. Orangutans: Geographic variation in behavioral ecology and conservation, 77-96.

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