Gorillas and orangutans are both apes and are closely related to humans. Gorillas are found in the tropical forests of equatorial Africa. They live in family groups called troops of 5 – 10 gorillas led by an adult male silverback.
Orangutans are native to the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. They live a solitary life. Both apes are intelligent enough to use simple objects as tools. They are both large and powerful creatures, but who is the strongest? It’s time for another animal fight, gorilla vs orangutan. Who will win?
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 136 – 227 kg|
height 1.4 – 1.8 m
arm span 2.3 – 2.6 m
|weight 50 – 100 kg|
height 1.3 – 1.4 m
arm span 2 – 2.2 m
at 25 mph
trees very well
|can at most|
do a fast walk
great at climbing
spends most of their
life high up in the trees
|Attack||bite force 1300 psi||bite force 575 psi|
|Strength||can lift 815 kg||can lift 227 kg|
|Defence||show off their|
strength to scare an opponent
|climb up higher in the|
trees to escape danger
|Lifespan||35 – 40 years||35 – 45 years|
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Size
Male silverback gorillas are muscly animals weighing between 136 – 227 kg (300 – 500 lbs). They have a shoulder height of 1.4 – 1.8 m (4.6 – 5.9 ft). Their muscle-bound arms span 2.3 – 2.6 m (7.5 – 8.5 ft).
Orangutans are smaller and slimmer than gorillas, with males weighing 50 – 100 kg (110 – 220 lbs). They have a shoulder height of 1.3 – 1.4 m (4.3 – 4.6 ft). Their legs are short compared to their long skinny arms spanning 2 – 2.2 m (6.5 – 7.2 ft).
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Speed and Movement
Gorillas spend most of their time at ground level as their bodies are not suited to live in the trees. Silverbacks are generally too heavy to climb, so they must find trees with the thickest trunks if they want to do any climbing.
Orangutans are the complete opposite, spending most of their life in the canopy. Their bodies are well-designed with lanky arms. They can easily swing through the branches.
Gorillas walk on all fours with their weight supported on their knuckles. Gorillas never really run and walk through the jungle. The only time they build up speed is when they charge. When threatened, they can reach 25 mph (40 kph).
When an orangutan does venture out at ground level, they walk on all fours. They don’t step on their knuckles; instead, they walk on their palms or fists. Orangutans are slow on the ground as they are designed for life in the trees and, as a result, can’t run the most they can. Musty is a fast walk.
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Bite Force
Even though gorillas and orangutans are both herbivores, they have strong jaws. An orangutan has a bite force of 575 psi, while the gorilla is even more potent at 1,300 psi, that’s stronger than a great white shark! They need these strong jaws to break open, crush and chew the fruit, nuts and tree bark they eat.
If you have ever seen a video or been to the zoo and seen a silverback gorilla yawn, you would see they have large canines. These canines are 5 cm (2 in) long.
I couldn’t find any information on how long orangutan canines are but judging by the images I saw online. I estimate them to be around the same size as the gorillas, maybe a tad shorter. In any case, a bite from either animal will cause severe pain.
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Strength
Looking at a gorilla, it is immediately apparent they are muscly animals. The biggest silverbacks can lift and throw objects weighing 815 kg (1,791 lbs). Orangutans have less muscle mass than gorillas but can still lift 227 kg (500 lbs).
Even though their grip strength has never been scientifically tested, it’s safe to assume that their grip strength is several times more powerful than ours.
So putting their strength into perspective, a gorilla is twenty times stronger than the average human. And an orangutan is seven times stronger than the average human.
Gorilla vs Orangutan: Defence
Gorillas like to avoid fights at all costs as the amount of damage they can inflict is so high. They use threats of display and demonstrations of power, having an entire sequence of gestures to scare their opponent.
They start by doing fast, excited calling, followed by standing upright, throwing vegetation, beating their chest, one-legged kicks, running sideways on all fours and upright, thumping and tearing down more plants and finally slamming the ground with their palms.
An orangutan’s only defence is to climb up the nearest tree. They will swing away from danger through the branches if they are already in a tree.
Gorilla vs orangutan who will win in a fight?
The gorilla will win in a fight against an orangutan. The gorilla has the advantage of being bigger, stronger and having a more powerful bite force than the orangutan. The orangutan would be crushed under the gorillas’ strength with no way of fighting back. The gorilla can also bite the orangutan all over, inflicting maximum damage.
If the fight happens in a forest, the orangutan’s best chance of survival would be to climb high up in a tree to escape. But if the battle happens in an open area on ground level, the orangutan has no chance of winning.
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