The Siamang gibbon is is the largest of the 14 known gibbon species and they are sometimes referred to as lesser apes. They can be found in Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, and Peninsular Thailand. These primates have a preference for primary and secondary regions of tropical rainforests, with ample tree coverage. Due to their limited range and adversities like habitat destruction (at the hands of agriculture, mining, roads, and railroads), hunting, and trapping these (as well as all other gibbons) are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Their numbers are also decreasing.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Symphalangus syndactylus
Weight: Up to 25 lbs.
Length: Up to 1.9 feet
Lifespan: Up to 30 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) These primates have opposable thumbs on their hands and feet. Another differentiating feature between Siamangs and other gibbons is webbing between their 2nd and 3rd toes.
2.) Siamangs are 1 of the few primates to be permanently monogamous (mate for life).
3.) Their arm span can be as large as 4.9 feet!
4.) A special throat sac enhances their call. This sac makes it one of the loudest of all the known gibbons.
5.) The parents will mark their territory not via the usual way. These gibbons actually sing a duet. Once the singing has finished they will head out to find food.
But wait, there’s more on the Siamang gibbon!
6.) After around 5 hours of eating and a total of about 10 hours of general activity, they will return to their resting areas to groom for about 15 minutes; give or take.
7.) The dominant male typically receives more grooming than he gives. However, the alpha male will excessively groom his female companion during breeding times.
Did you know…?
Each mated pair has their own unique song that they sing to 1 another each day.
8.) The Siamang is primarily a folivore (eats leaves) and a frugivore (eats fruit) but will also resort to eating insects, smaller vertebrates, and even birds and their eggs.
9.) They are both arboreal (spend their lives in trees) and terrestrial (spend their lives on the ground).
10.) Females will breed every 2 – 3 years and produce a single infant.
But wait, there’s still more on the Siamang gibbon!
11.) Young Siamangs leave mom and dad at around 6 years old. They then will spend several years looking for a partner.
12.) These critters reach sexual maturity by the age of 8 – 9 years old.
Did you know…?
Nearly 50% of their day is spent lounging in tall trees.
13.) Even though they lack a tail, these lesser apes have surprisingly great balance. They can often be seen walking on branches on their hind legs, high up in the trees.
14.) Their loud calls can be heard up to 2 miles away!
15.) It has been documented that these gibbons eat up to 160 different types of plants. This includes their favorite: figs and fruits. Seeing as they are (in part) frugivores, this makes them important keystone species, in that they spread seeds from their waste. This helps grow new plants and trees.
But wait, there’s still a little more on the Siamang gibbon!
16.) Their primary form of travel is via brachiation (locomotion accomplished by swinging by the arms from 1 hold to another).
17.) With the help of their long arms, they can cover up to 10 feet in a single swing.
18.) Siamang gibbons are diurnal (active during the day); like most other primates.
19.) They have no known natural predator, sans humans.
20.) Sadly, many of the adults are killed, so that their young can be later sold on the black market. This is despite the fact that gibbons are protected by law.
Now a Short Siamang Gibbon Video!
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