Facts About Gibbon Primates

Gibbons Primate

1. Gibbons are one of only a few species of primates that mate for life.
2. The female gestation period lasts about 7 months and she will usually give birth to one offspring at a time.
3. Young gibbons will stay with their parents in a family unit until they are old enough to venture off on their own and start their own family.
4. Mated pairs, and even whole families, will sing long, complex songs together. Some species have even adapted large throat pouches to amplify their calls.
5. They are most often heard in the early morning and may go on for half an hour or more. This morning ritual is usually initiated by the female, who is the head of the family group. Males and females have different calls.
6. These iconic tree dwellers are among the most threatened primates on Earth. Their habitat is disappearing at a rapid rate, and they are often captured and sold as pets or killed for use in traditional medicines. All but one species of gibbon is listed as endangered or critically endangered.
7. These tree-dwellers use a highly specialized mode of locomotion called brachiation—instead of grasping at branches with their fingers, their hands form a loose hook around branches, enabling them to swing through the trees using a hand-over-hand motion.
8. At dawn, pairs defend their territory with loud ritualized duets that last around 10 minutes.
9. All white-cheeked gibbons are born with blonde fur that starts to turn black within the first year of life. When they reach adulthood, however, males remain black while females change back to blonde.
10. Brachiation refers to the manner in which gibbons move through trees. Using their long fingers to hook over a branch, they swing forward grasping the next branch with the other hand. In this manner, gibbons may reach speeds of 56 kph (35 mph) while traversing trees that may be up to 15 m (50 ft.) in distance apart.
11. Gibbons have the longest arm length relative to body size of any primate. Arboreal (tree-dwelling) in nature, gibbon arms are longer than their legs, helping them swing from tree to tree.
12. Gibbons are among the 6% of primate species that are monogamous.
13. Contrary to many ape species, adult female gibbons are dominant in their family social structures.
14. Gibbons are territorial. They communicate their territorial boundaries with elaborate and prolonged vocalizations that can be heard from great distances throughout the forest.
15. Gibbons are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.
16. Gibbons eat fruit, eggs, and insects.