Home Animals How Strong Are Orangutans? Comparing Strength: Orangutans vs. Gorillas

How Strong Are Orangutans? Comparing Strength: Orangutans vs. Gorillas


Orangutans exhibit remarkable characteristics that distinguish them from other apes. They predominantly inhabit trees, dedicating a substantial portion of their time to this arboreal lifestyle. Additionally, they rank among the most intelligent primates.

A common question that arises pertains to the physical prowess of orangutans. It is worth noting that these creatures possess significant strength. In fact, they are approximately seven times stronger than humans. Their lifting capacity amounts to roughly 500 pounds, and their bite force reaches an impressive 600 PSI, nearly twice as powerful as that of a leopard. Their upper body strength can be attributed to their reliance on their arms and shoulders for navigating through trees.

How Strong Are Orangutans

Outlined below are some noteworthy facts about the strength of orangutans:

  • Bite force: 600 PSI
  • Arm strength (lifting): 500 pounds
  • Arm strength (gripping): 600 pounds
  • Weight range: 82 to 200 pounds

Despite their formidable strength, orangutans are recognized as the most gentle among all apes. Their solitary nature ensures that conflicts are exceedingly rare occurrences.

Within this article, we will delve into the topic of orangutan strength, exploring the factors contributing to their impressive physical capabilities.

Orangutan Strength

Orangutans are often viewed as quiet and solitary creatures, which can lead some to underestimate their strength and abilities. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. These great apes live up to their name and are just as strong as their fellow apes. Adult male orangutans can weigh anywhere from 100 to 220 pounds and stand about 5 feet tall. 

Their arms are about 7 feet long, with fingers extending from one side to the other. While they are usually peaceful animals, on rare occasions, male orangutans have been seen engaging in fighting contests with each other, particularly over mates. 

These events are a true spectacle and demonstrate the incredible strength of these remarkable creatures. It’s clear that their quiet demeanour should not be mistaken for weakness or incompetence. Instead, it’s a sign of their powerful and formidable nature.

How Strong Are Orangutans Compared To Humans?

Scientific studies have revealed that orangutans possess a staggering strength that surpasses that of humans by a significant margin. This remarkable physical power can be attributed to their robust arm muscles, which are crucial for their unique mode of locomotion in the forest canopy. As orangutans traverse through the trees, their muscles enable them to support their own weight while effortlessly swinging from one tree to another.

Furthermore, orangutans exhibit a fascinating ability to generate sound by pounding on trees using their hands—an impressive feat that humans are unable to replicate. It serves as a striking example of their exceptional physical capabilities.

In fact, orangutans have even demonstrated their superiority over humans in a tug-of-war contest, effortlessly outmatching our strength with minimal exertion. This well-documented evidence unequivocally establishes the fact that comparing our strength to orangutans is simply inconceivable.

While it is natural for us to gauge our strength against other animal species, when it comes to orangutans, such comparisons are rendered futile due to the incomparable magnitude of their physical power.

Are Orangutans Stronger Than Gorillas?

When comparing the strength of orangutans and gorillas, it becomes apparent that gorillas hold the advantage. Orangutans are primarily arboreal creatures, with their physical adaptations geared towards climbing and swinging among trees rather than terrestrial locomotion. In contrast, gorillas are adept at moving fluidly on the ground, making them more formidable in confrontations on land. This gives them a clear edge over orangutans in ground-based combat situations.

Furthermore, a significant disadvantage orangutans face in a potential fight against gorillas lies in their dental structure. Gorillas possess sharp canines that they may employ as weapons, while orangutans lack comparable lethal canines to retaliate effectively. Although orangutans may be larger in size, gorillas have a more robust and compact build, which further enhances their physical strength.

While the likelihood of orangutans and gorillas encountering each other in the wild is extremely slim, considering their distinct habitats, if such an encounter were to occur, the gorilla would undoubtedly emerge victorious. Orangutans, while possessing strength, cannot match the formidable power of gorillas.

Are Orangutans Stronger Than Chimps?

Unlike orangutans, chimpanzees have a reputation for engaging in violent behaviour. They frequently find themselves involved in physical altercations with their fellow chimps. Despite their experience in combat, orangutans surpass chimps in terms of size.

Orangutans tower over chimps, boasting significantly greater height, and they weigh almost twice as much. Consequently, in a hypothetical clash between the two, orangutans would emerge as the victors due to their superior muscle mass and overall strength.

The combination of their impressive physical power and their arboreal lifestyle provides orangutans with a significant advantage. Their ability to navigate through trees further enhances their combat prowess.

However, the chances of encountering these primates in the wild are exceedingly slim. Chimpanzees inhabit the African continent, while orangutans are native to Asia, making any direct confrontation between the two species virtually impossible.

How Strong Is An Orangutan’s Grip?

Orangutans have incredible grip strength, estimated to be about eight times stronger than humans, according to researchers and biologists. With their long and powerful hands, these primates are able to grasp onto branches with ease and prevent themselves from falling. While the exact measurement of their grip strength remains unclear, it’s safe to say that an orangutan’s strength should not be underestimated. 

With just one powerful yank from an adult orangutan, shoulder tendons can be easily ripped off. So, when you find yourself face to face with an orangutan, perhaps a hug might be a safer greeting than a handshake.

How Much Can An Orangutan Lift?

Orangutans are incredibly strong animals, capable of lifting up to 500 lb in weight. To put that into perspective, the heaviest orangutan weighs only about 200 lb, meaning it can lift more than two times its own body mass. That’s about as heavy as 7 Olympic dumbbells put together! 

While it’s certainly impressive, it’s important to note that orangutans were not designed for weightlifting competitions. In fact, if an orangutan were to compete against humans in such a contest, it would be illegal. Nevertheless, the incredible strength of these animals is a testament to the power and resilience of nature.

Why Are Orangutans So Strong?

The orangutan is known for its incredible physical strength, but what makes these primates so strong? It’s all in their anatomy. With powerful arm muscles and flexible hips and shoulders, orangutans are built to effortlessly move their weight from tree to tree and sustain themselves mid-air for long periods of time. 

However, the real secret to their strength lies in genetics. Mother nature designed orangutans to be strong from birth, and their daily physical activity only adds to their already powerful muscles. Surprisingly, orangutans are also the least aggressive primates, with only male orangutans occasionally displaying aggressive behaviour. So not only are they strong, they’re also gentle giants of the primate world.

Final Words

Orangutans are awe-inspiring creatures with incredible strength and power. Despite their strength, these massive apes are known for their peaceful and solitary nature. Orangutans have little interest in engaging in fights or stirring trouble, and they do their best to stay away from any conflicts. 

However, if they deem it necessary to defend themselves or their mates from danger, they have the strength and power to fend off not only their competition but even humans who dare to come too close. Their incredible arm strength allows them to climb trees and swing from branch to branch with ease, showcasing just how their physical prowess is unmatched in the animal kingdom. 

Despite their impressive abilities, orangutans invest most of their time in keeping to themselves, demonstrating their peaceful and gentle nature.


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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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