These endangered, small, arboreal apes are considered to be among the world’s greatest acrobats. They can leap distances of 40 feet at speeds of up to 35 mph while 200 feet above the ground. This swinging from branch to branch is called brachiating. The Eastern black gibbon (Nomascus nasutus) is one of the rarest primates in the wild. The Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) is the rarest mammal in the world. Gibbons are one of the few serial monogamous primates, and whether on the ground or in the trees, they are known for their dexterity and ability to walk upright. Often referred to as the “songbirds” of the primate family and the most musical land mammal, gibbons can project their voices up to 2 miles through the dense rain forest canopy. Unfortunately, their natural habitat is being destroyed at the alarming rate of 32 acres per minute! This destruction means the disappearance of their melodious songs as well.
Where are gibbons from?
Gibbons are native to the dwindling rain forests of Southeast, South and East
Asia. You’ll find gibbons in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos,
Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia (including Sumatra, Java
How do gibbons travel?
Gibbons are “bi-pedal” ---They can walk on 2 legs.
- Gibbons are the only nonhuman primate that primarily walks on 2
They “brachiate” --- which means that they can swing from tree branches using
their long, strong arms.
- Gibbon arms are 1.5 times longer than their legs!
- They have the ability to move swiftly through the treetops at up to 35
mph while 200 feet in the air.
They climb trees and can leap up to distances of 50 feet between trees.
Do gibbons sing?
Yes they do! Gibbons are often referred to as the “songbirds of the primate
family.” A gibbon marks its territory by vocalizing (singing) when traveling
within the borders of where they live. The adult male and female sing a duet
and their offspring will join in. The adult male and female harmonize, but sing a
different song. When males are immature they generally sing the song of
How far can a gibbons voice travel through the forest canopy?
The siamang sings a song that can be heard up to 2 miles through the dense forest canopy. The siamang is the loudest land mammal on Earth. The siamang has a unique vocal sac that inflates as they sing and produces remarkably loud and deep sounds.
What do gibbons eat?
Gibbons eat fruit, young leaves, flowers, bird eggs, insects and birds. They forage for food in the upper forest canopy.
Can gibbons see in color?
Are gibbons monogamous or polygamous?
Gibbons are, for the most part, monogamous (they have only one mate at a
time). However, unlike geese or other animals that take only one mate for life,
gibbons typically have only one mate “at a time” --- this is called “serial monogamy.” In some situations, however, gibbons are known to take more than one mate at a time, when their primary mate is unaware of their promiscuity.
At what age do gibbons reach sexual maturity in captivity?
Gibbons in captivity become sexually mature at some point between 4.5 – 6.5 years of age.
How long is gestation?
Pregnant females carry their young for approximately 6 months
At what age do gibbons leave their parents to create their own family in their natural habitat?
On average, gibbon offspring leave their parents and begin to create their own
families when the females are around 8.5 years old and the males are around
10 years old.
How long does a gibbon live?
The lifespan of a gibbon is roughly 30 - 35 years in the wild or 40 – 50 years in
The oldest known living gibbon was a 60 year-old male Müller’s gibbon named Nippy, who was housed in the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. He passed away in 2008.