The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is the rarer of the two species of orangutans. Living and endemic to Sumatra island of Indonesia, they are smaller than the Bornean Orangutan. The Sumatran Orangutan grows to about 4.6 feet tall and 200 pounds in males. Females are smaller, averaging 3 feet and 100 pounds.
Compared to the Bornean Orangutan, the Sumatran Orangutans possess a lighter and longer pelage, a longer face, a smaller stature, and flanges that are covered in small white hairs.
Wild Sumatran Orangutans in the Suaq Balimbing swamp have been observed using tools. An orangutan will break off a tree branch that’s about a foot long, snap off the twigs and fray one end. It then will use the stick to dig in tree holes for termites. They’ll also use the stick to poke a bees nest wall, move it around and catch the honey. In addition, orangutans use tools to eat fruit. When the fruit of the Neesia tree ripens, its hard, ridged husk softens until it falls open. Inside are seeds that the orangutans love, but they are surrounded by fiberglass-like hairs that are painful if eaten. A Neesia-eating orangutan will select a five-inch stick, strip off its bark, and then carefully collect the hairs with it. Once the fruit is safe, the ape will eat the seeds using the stick or its fingers. Although similar swamps can be found in Borneo, wild Bornean Orangutans have not been seen using these types of tools.
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