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Orangutan Uses Wet Towel To Cool Off (Video)

Orangutan Uses Wet Towel To Cool Off (Video)


A remarkable new video is providing living proof that orangutans are incredibly intelligent primates. The clip, which was filmed at Tokyo’s Tama Zoo, shows how an orangutan beats the summer heat by dipping a washcloth in a pool of water and then draping it across its face.

During the two-minute video an orangutan repeatedly plunges a small towel into a cool pool of water, wrings it out in a human-like manner with his hands and then wipes it over its face. The primate even flips over the washcloth to keep the coolest side against its skin.

A younger orangutan watches the entire procedure and wants to join in, but the older animal scoots it aside.

Discovery News speculated, “Most likely, the adult orangutan was taught this behavior since the washcloth was provided but it appears to be acting spontaneously, putting his knowledge to good use on a hot day when a cleansing cool-off was refreshing.”

Tropical Rainforest cites on their website the amazing intelligence of orangutans whose “human-like mental abilities allow them to adapt to their environment, learn new skills, plan their actions ahead and solve other everyday problems.”

According to author Richard R. Byrne, orangutans have been recorded doing the following actions:

  • Sawing wood
  • Hammering nails into wood
  • Combing hair
  • Applying insect repellent to their bodies
  • Attempting to siphon liquid with a hose

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Photo from adam_inglis via flickr.

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1:33AM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

It's been deleted!

12:48AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014


9:44PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

I wish they could talk and tell us how stupid we are

11:26AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

There is another account (and video) of an orang who once lived with people. It learned to wash clothes, and use a cloth to wash surfaces. It still does this in its orang sanctuary.

1:45AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

meet ancestor

11:26PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Cool, didn't have much doubt of their intelligence. Just wish video were available.

7:43PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Very sweet. Thanks for sharing this video.

1:08PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

cute!!!! thankyou.

2:16AM PST on Jan 6, 2012


6:56AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Thanks for sharing

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This finding better not be an excuse to use plastic and styrofoam. Have to think for the future generations…

This is incredible - hope they will not be under threat now that it's publicised!

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