What do Orangutans Eat?
Approximately 90% of the diet that an orangutan consumes is fruit. What they will consume depends on their natural habitat as well as the season. They have a preference though for fruits that are full of sugar and that are full of pulp. Fig trees grow lots of fruit and are often found in the rainforests where orangutans live. However, they will also eat other items including insects, shoots, leaves, seeds, and tree bark.
There has been a great deal of research conducted regarding the types of items that orangutans feed on. More than 400 plants have been identified to be consumed by them. They have a very good digestive system as well which means they are able to eat these items and use them for energy without any problems.
They are also able to consume fruits that contain a toxic material known as Alkaloid Strychnine. While it can be deadly for other animals to consume, the only side effect it has on orangutans is causing them to produce more saliva than normal. They have a very high tolerance for this and other types of toxins found in the rainforest.
They are very picky though when food is plentiful. They will pass up all else to get to the fruits. They also will avoid consuming the skin of many of them and only eating the inside parts that are soft and that are sweet. They also will spit the seeds from various types of fruits rather than swallowing them.
Some orangutans have been noted to consume rocks or soil as well. This is puzzling because it isn’t deemed as a type of normal eating. However, the results of this indicate that they may do so to help when they aren’t getting enough nutrients from their diet. It is also done in order to get minerals from clay which can help offset problems such a diarrhea from their foods consumed.
Orangutans are known to be quite funny when they eat as well. For example they can hang upside down from branches to reach leaves and fruits that are below them. They have no trouble at all eating in this position and do it quite often. It is quite amazing that they are able to do so without dropping the fruit to the ground!
Researches discovered that many orangutans in the wild use tools to help them get to food sources. This includes sticks and rocks that they can use to break open the shells on fruits and get to what is inside of them. They also teach these various types of survival skills to their offspring. It is quite fascinating to watch them as well.
Sometimes orangutans are known to consume small bird eggs. This is generally only if they can’t find adequate supplies though of their other sources of food. They are still considered to be herbivores though. An orangutan will spend about 7 hours of its time each day consuming some time of food. The rest of the time it is either playing, grooming, or sleeping.
The fact is that with the rainforest being depleted and with the effects of global warming there isn’t nearly as much food for the orangutans as there once was. They adults have huge appetites and they are able to mentally remember what types of fruits are available during particular times of the year. They will return to certain feeding spots annually for this purpose. Yet on many occasions they try to return and that area has been wiped out. This is stressful for them to deal with as they try to find new places to get that food they need for survival.