Twycross Zoo - Follow Your Heart

Opening Times: 10am - 6pm

Charity Heart

Twycross Zoo is a registered charity (number 501841) which exists to support conservation, education and research.

Bornean Orangutan

Scientific Name: Pongo pygmaeus

General information

The name Orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language.

The Bornean orangutan is one of three Orangutan species and is the world’s largest mammal that lives in trees. It is also the only species of great ape found outside of Africa.

Orangutans are famous for their shaggy, long, dark red-brown hair. They have extremely long arms to help with their arboreal lifestyle. Their hands and feet are scoop-like and have a powerful grip for grasping branches.

Adult males occur in two forms, which are flanged or unflanged. The flanged males are larger and on both sides of their face they have fleshy ‘flanges’, or cheek pads.
Males and females only come together to mate. Once the baby is born the mother is the sole carer and will look after the baby for up to seven years, when it is old enough to fend for itself. This gives a female a maximum of four to five young per lifetime and this low reproductive rate is one of the reasons they are declining in the wild. On average, females give birth only every eight years, and so are the slowest of all mammal species to breed.

Orangutans are very intelligent and use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage.

Size and weight

Height: 1.5m

Weight: 30-100 KG

A male may stretch his arms some 7 feet from fingertip to fingertip—a reach considerably longer than his standing height of about 5 feet.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy: 45-60 years

Conservation status


Habitat and location

Habitat: Swamp Forest, Tropical Forest

Location: Borneo, Southeast Asia

Bornean orangutans inhabit the lowland and hilly tropical forests of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.

Food and eating habits

Bornean orangutans are omnivores, and they eat over 400 types of food, including fruit, leaves, bark, flowers, and insects. 60% of their diet is made up of fruits, particularly wild figs, and durians, a type of tree fruit. To obtain minerals they sometimes eat soil.

Notable Twycross residents

  • Batu – (Male) – 25/05/1989 – our big male
  • Maliku – (Female) – 10/06/1994
  • Basuki – (Male) – 27/03/2017  
  • Kayan – (Female) – 16/06/2017

Where to find at Twycross Zoo

Our orangutan habitat can be found in the middle of the zoo between the Black-headed spider monkeys and De brazza’s monkeys.

Twycross zoo map 2022



The money made through our animal adoptions contributes to looking after zoo animals as well as endangered species across the world. Adopt one of your favourite animals from our online shop and receive your adoption gift pack through the post – a perfect present for all animal lovers.





Borneo Nature Foundation – Home – Borneo Nature Foundation

Twycross Zoo is pleased to support the Borneo Nature Foundation. This is a charity that works to protect rainforest out in Borneo in three important ways; reforestation, habitat protection and fire prevention. They also support the very crucial work of scientific research and wildlife surveys, helping to inform the conservation work and expanding our knowledge of the animals of the rainforest, especially orangutans.

Community engagement and environmental education is a large part of what the organisation does, they have youth groups and field trips to inspire future generations to love and conservation their precious rainforests.    

Key Facts:

  • There are three species of orangutan – Borneo, Sumatran and Tapanuli.
  • Tapanuli was only discovered in 2017 and there’s less than 800 individuals in existence.
  • The main form of communication used by Bornean orangutans is a long-call.
  • It is performed by flanged males only, which, in the right conditions, can be heard several kilometers away.
  • The primary purpose of long-calls is to inform other adult males of the presence of the caller (unflanged males flee from the area when they hear long-calls).
  • It is also used during the mating season, to call out to female orangutans.
  • Predators include clouded leopard, tigers, Asian hunting dog and humans.