Hylobates lar

Range: Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo

Habitat: Upper layer, or canopy, of monsoon forests

Conservation status: Endangered

White-handed Gibbon

  • • Arboreal: All gibbons belong to the genus Hylobates, which means “dweller in trees,” which certainly describes a gibbon’s lifestyle.
    • Primary predators of the white-handed gibbon are leopards, clouded leopards, and humans.
    • Resemble the great apes— gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans—in not having tails and in having the same number and kind of teeth, although longer canines.
    • Differ from great apes by being much smaller, more slender and having longer arms. In addition they have sitting pads—hard patches of skin on their rumps, known as ischial callosities that they utilize when sitting or sleeping on branches.
    • Color ranges from black to light buff with white hands and feet. There is some variation in color among individuals, but the fur on all the animals is extremely dense, providing protection from the rain. One square centimeter of skin has over 2,000 individual hairs (13,125 per square inch).
    • All have white fur on their hands and feet and a white ring around the face.
    • Long arms are especially useful for their method of locomotion. Scientists
    • Gibbons are mostly diurnal.
    • Very agile. They brachiate through the trees (long arms extended above their heads, they swing from branch to branch, throwing themselves forward with seeming abandonment using their hook-like hands to grasp the branches). Can cover horizontal distances of 40 ft. and 50 vertical ft. in one swing. Gibbons launch themselves and free-fall until they catch another branch.
    • They walk, in an upright position, along branches or on the ground, balancing themselves with arms held outstretched to their sides or slightly over their heads.

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