Interesting Facts About Gibbons: World’s Best Acrobats!

Gibbon is a small ape. Its closest relatives are gorilla, chimpanzee, orangutan and bonobo. There are 15 species of gibbons that can be found in Southeast Asia (China, India, Burma, Malayan peninsula, Borneo…).
Gibbon lives in dense jungles and tropical rainforests. Number of gibbons in the wild is very low because of the accelerated deforestation and poaching. Gibbons are often sold as pets. Also, their body parts are used in traditional Asian medicine. All except one species of gibbons are endangered or critically endangered. Gibbon can survive up to 25 years in the wild.
The Hainan gibbon is the world’s rarest ape, with around 20 individuals in two family groups living on Hainan Island just off the coast of southern China.
1. Gibbons are famous for their agility in the forest tree-tops and are excellent arm-swingers. They are considered to be among the world’s best acrobats! Gibbons have the longest arms (relative to body size) of all species of primates, enabling them to move hand over hand through the branches of the trees propelled only by their forelimbs.
They have the ability to swing from tree to tree, distances of 15 m (50 ft), at speeds of up to 55 kph (35 mph), while in trees over 60 m (200 ft) above ground.
2. Your chances of seeing one in the wild. Gibbons are undoubtedly the most endangered of all ape species and are threatened primarily by loss of their forest habitat. Other factors contributing to their demise include illegal wildlife trade, the use of their body parts in Chinese medicines, and poaching.
3. Pregnancy in females lasts 7 months and ends with a single baby. Young gibbon depends on the mother’s milk during the first year of life. Both parents take care of their offspring until they reach sexual maturity and become ready to form their own family group.
4. Gibbon walks using only legs (bipedal walking). Arms are used for balancing. They walk on two legs both on the ground and on the trees.
5. Gibbons are diurnal animals (active during the day). They sleep in the trees, in the upright position. They don’t build nests. Instead, they use forked branches as beds.
6. Gibbons are highly intelligent animals. They can recognize themselves in the mirror. Also, they are able to communicate via various songs. Songs usually last 10 to 30 minutes and both males and females perform them. Main purpose of the song is to announce presence of the group on a certain territory.
7. Gibbons are omnivores (they eat both plants and animals). Their diet consists mainly of fruit, but they also eat different types of seed, shoots, flowers and insects.
8. Gibbons are territorial animals that usually live on a territory of 25 to 40 hectares. They fiercely defend their home.
9. Gibbons live in family groups composed of breeding couple and their offspring. Gibbons are monogamous (one couple mate for life) and they form very strong bonds with family members. Grooming plays important role in their social life.

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