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 also part of their diet and a source of protein, and to obtain 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, snacking on the way during their explorations. In this way they help the regeneration of rainforest vegetation by spreading seeds far from parent trees.
It’s thought that orangutans must have a very complex mind-map of the forest 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.
How Can You Help
There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.