ust like all other primates, orangutans have a language. But for a person to understand exactly what they are talking about, you have to pay very close attention. They don't talk like humans do, but with one look, they can often say more than we could with 1000 words.
But the 'secret language' of the orangutans is actually not so hard to learn. Have a good read through this dictionary
and remember what you find here. You'll probably have an accent, but
you'll be able to talk to the orangutans!

    Orangutans never make a friendly approach with their palms up - that is a sign of attack! They keep their palms down and let their arms hang loosely.

    Orangutans that don't know each other never look directly in each other's eyes. It is very impolite and, if the eye contact is too long, means attack! So, if you come across an orangutan you don't know, don't stare rudely, but look at him out of the corner of your eye!

    If an orangutan puts a leaf or flower in its mouth (but doesn't eat it) and looks at anther orangutan, its a good sign. This tells the other that they like them and they needn't be afraid.

    But you really need to pay close attention to how an orangutan does this. Sometimes they do it unintentionally and don't mean anything by it at all.

    Orangutans show interest in one another by looking at each other out of the corner of their eyes, quickly passing a hand over their head and making a high pitched sound. The other orangutan knows exactly what is meant and can react ... or not!

    When two close friends meet, orangutans have a very special greeting. Each gently places a finger in the other's eye. By allowing this, they show total trust in their friend - they could easily lose an eye this way!

    This is the sign of the deepest friendship there is. It is orangutan for "I love you".

    Have you ever "talked" to an orangutan or another great ape? Did you misunderstand each other or did you get on famously?

    Write your story and it could be in this book.

    On the next page you will find a form to fill in your story (Of course all other ape/monkey stories are welcome too!).

    Back to the contents! Go to the form!

© Meike Kunkel