The orangutan diet is made up of bark, leaves, flowers, a variety of insects, and most importantly, over 300 kinds of fruit.Termites and ants are part of their diet to obtain protein and for minerals they sometimes eat soil.
Mothers teach their babies what food to eat, in which trees to find it and in what season.
Orangutans have a habit of eating fruit while cruising from one tree to another eating on the way during their explorations. They help the regeneration of rainforest vegetation by spreading seeds far from parent trees.
It’s thought that orangutans must have a very complex map of the forest in their mind, and detailed knowledge of the fruiting cycles of many species of trees. This prevents wasting valuable energy randomly searching for fruit trees and travelling to a certain fruiting tree whose fruits will not ripen for some time.
Babies must eventually know hundreds of species of plants and trees, which ones are edible, and how to process them, as some are very difficult to eat because of their sharp spines and shells.
Photo: Karen Stenner