Orangutans, alongside chimpanzees and gorillas, are among the great primates with a high level of intelligence. In the wild, it is in their instincts to build nests. They are capable of utilizing trees and branches, twigs, and leaves to make nests, serving as their bed.

Orangutans generally build their nests in strong trees. They are capable of determining the criteria for trees suitable for nesting (smart, right?). Orangutans will then break twigs and then arrange/weave them. And their nests are not just any ordinary nests. Apparently, there are several variations of orangutan nests built on trees, namely:

  1. Variant 1: Nest close to tree bark

This type of nest is usually built by orangutans using larger branches. On those big branches, they arrange more twigs and leaves to build their nest.

  • Variant 2: Nest in the middle or the edge of a tree branch without using other branches

This type of nest is built by orangutans using a sturdy tree branch.

  • Variant 3: Nest combining two or more trees

Orangutans also have a habit of making nests by using 2 or more trees. With this variant, the nest is located between 2 or more branches of different trees. Orangutans pulled these trees closer, then connected the branches together to unite them.

  • Variant 4: Nest at the treetop.

For this particular type of nest, orangutans will choose strong and large trees. Nests are constructed at the top of the tree, taking into account its strength against the wind.

Another interesting feature is that there are several classes of orangutan nest, depending on the condition of leaves and twigs:

  • Class 1: Fully green nest.
  • Class 2: Half green, half yellow nest.
  • Class 3: All brown leaves, though still intact nest.
  • Class 4: No leaves, barely twigs, nest starting to bear holes.

Just how strong is an orangutan’s nest? Well, turns out the nests that orangutans build in their natural habitat are very strong. It can hold the weight of adult male orangutan, which is around 100 kg, without collapsing. Mr. Odom, the Operational Manager of Orangutan Sanctuary Center (PSO) – ARSARI, has an interesting story about this. Mr. Odom, weighing 76 kg, has once climbed up the tree and tried to sit on the nest of an adult female orangutan, built on a rasak tree. Turned out, it was indeed sturdy enough.

During the dry season, orangutans generally build nests on riverbanks due to easier access to water. Orangutans usually build nests during the day. They have an instinct to maintain and remodel their nests, so they often return to their old nests to add new leaves. Sometimes, they also make temporary, non-permanent nests for resting. Turns out, they also have the concept of transit while traveling (hehe).

Even after getting done with the nest and wanting to go out exploring the horizons of this beautiful world, orangutans never destroy those nests. It allows fellow orangutans or other animals to reuse them.

How is it? Excited to try the real treehouse?

Writers: Odom and Dika

Photo credit: Odom’s private collection