Gibbons are found in the rainforests of southeastern Asia.
The gibbon's favorite food are fruits, but they also eat leaves, tree bark, flowers, and plant shoots. They also occasionally eat bird eggs and even small birds, insects, tree frogs and other small animals.
Gibbons spend almost all of their time in the treetops of the rainforest. They even sleep there, resting in the forks of branches. Their long fingers and strong hands allow them to swing through the trees quickly and gracefully. This behavior is known as brachiating. Because they are not able to swim, different types of gibbons are isolated in different areas by large rivers. Staying high in the trees protects the gibbon from its few natural predators.
Gibbons range in color from light sandy blonde to dark brown. They have thick, fluffy fur and slim bodies that are built for swinging from trees. Adult gibbons average around 15 pounds. They have no tail.
Reproduction and Life Span
Gibbons are one of only a few species of primates that mate for life. The female gestation period lasts about 7 months and she will usually give birth to one offspring at a time. Twins are rare. 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. Gibbons typically live to between 25 - 40 years of age. They normally live longer in captivity than in the wild.
There are several different species of gibbons. Of these, the Lar gibbon is the most common. It is also known as the common gibbon or white-handed gibbon.
Gibbons are known for being noisy. The male and female have loud calls that are used for a variety of purposes, but mainly for protecting their territory and food supply. 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.
Gibbon populations are dwindling, mainly due to the loss of their habitat from deforestation.