Tense Moment as Orangutan Holds a Tourist Ransom In Exchange for a Fruit Reward

Orangutan deep in thought
© Everything I Do/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 18, 2023

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This is a hostage situation and the ransom is bananas! At first, this looks like a sweet clip of a tourist interacting with an orangutan. However, you soon realize that he is being held against his will! The orangutan is gripping hold of his wrist and refuses to let him go until the fruit has been handed over. There is even a suggestion that she may bite if they don’t get what they want. Watch the full footage of how this explorer managed to get out of a very tricky situation!

Orangutan deep in thought

While humans share a common ancestor with the Orangutan, they are more closely related to the chimpanzee.

©Everything I Do/Shutterstock.com

There are actually three orangutan species. They are the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) and the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).

Whilst we do indeed share a common ancestor with the orangutan this was a very long time ago. Between 18 to 14 million years ago to be a bit more precise. They are members of the Hominidae family which also contains humans. However, we are more closely related to the chimpanzee. DNA sequencing has shown that we share 97 percent of our DNA with orangutans compared to 99 percent with chimps.

Are Orangutans Intelligent?

Animals with Opposable Thumbs-orangutan

Orangutans share 97 percent of their DNA with humans!

©Alex East/Shutterstock.com

This orangutan has worked out that if she grabs hold of a human, she can get some fruit. That for sure requires a certain level of intelligence. However, there are plenty of other signs that orangutans are amongst the most intelligent of primates. We know that they can use tools and are highly innovative. They have been seen imitating human behavior including putting mosquito nets over nests and rice on plates made out of leaves. There is even research to suggest that orangutans can mimic human speech. Could you imagine encountering one imitating you?

What Do Orangutans Normally Eat?

What Do Orangutans Eat
Orangutans have been described as opportunistic foragers and you can’t get more opportunistic than this.

Orangutans like bananas! However, they eat a range of plant and animal material. Their diet includes many fruits including apples and oranges and they have been known to raid fruit farms. This brings them into conflict with local human populations. Orangutans also eat bark, fruit, flowers, and honey. They will also eat eggs, small lizards, and even other primates! Invertebrates are also on the menu and that includes ants, maggots, and ticks. They have been described as opportunistic foragers and you can’t get more opportunistic than this!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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