How Strong Are Orangutans?

Orangutans are some of the strongest animals on the planet. They can effortlessly swing from branch to branch in the trees and have incredibly powerful arms and hands. But how strong are orangutans?

Orangutans are the second strongest apes after gorillas, with a biting force of around 575 PSI. They can lift up to 500 lb (227 kg) and have a grip strength of 600 lb (272 kg). They beat most other great apes and even humans in terms of power.

In this post, we’ll cover the incredible strength of orangutans compared to other great apes, such as gorillas and chimpanzees, and we’ll provide some statistics comparing orangutans with humans.

orangutan with bananas in hands

How much strength do orangutans have?

In reality, orangutans are quite robust and powerful. They are not symbols of delicacy or weakness but creatures that possess strength and power.

Here is a breakdown of some different orangutan strength facts:

How much strength do adult orangutans have?

Orangutans weigh an average of 66 to 198 pounds and are four to five feet tall. A male orangutan has the muscle strength to lift up to 500 pounds, which is about 227 kilograms. 

They can do this because they have very powerful muscles in their arms. In addition to muscle strength, an orangutan’s arms are also long. The arm length (span) can reach seven feet, depending on the size and species.

A female orangutan is not as big and powerful as a male orangutan, yet she is still quite strong. A female orangutan can lift a weight that is twice her body weight.

The tables below compare the weights and lengths of different male and female orangutans to give you a better perspective.

Sumatran Orangutan:

MaleFemale
Body Weight66-198 lb90-115 lb
Height4-5 feet3-3.5 feet

Bornean Orangutan:

MaleFemale
Body Weight66-220 lb85-110 lb
Height3.3-4.6 feet2.5 feet

Tapanuli Orangutan:

MaleFemale
Body Weight165 lb82 lb
Height5 feet4 feet

How much strength do baby orangutans have?

Baby orangutans, despite their diminutive stature, are quite powerful. They can cling to their mother’s back or side and support their body weight while she swings from tree to tree.

This necessitates a tremendous amount of power and coordination.

Baby orangutans develop body strength from a young age and continue to grow stronger as they age. By the time they reach adulthood, they are among the strongest great apes. This is due to their long development period, which can last up to ten years.

Are orangutans stronger than humans?

Orangutans are among the most powerful animals on the planet and are undoubtedly stronger than humans. They are approximately up to seven times more powerful than human beings, depending on what strength is being tested.

orangutan vs man

Let’s look at some numbers to help us grasp the situation better:

Orangutan bite force vs human bite force

Orangutans have a very powerful bite. Their bite force is around 575 PSI, almost four times the average human bite force of 162 PSI. This allows them to easily crack the shells and seeds of the fruits they eat.

Although human bites aren’t as strong as other animals, we have adapted different ways to compensate for them. For example, while our maximum biting force is only around 162 PSI, we use tools to help us break open tough surfaces.

Additionally, weaker bites allow a greater range of softer foods and speech articulation that other animals don’t typically enjoy.

Orangutan weight lifting ability vs human weight lifting ability

Orangutans can lift weights twice as heavy as their body weight. This is an incredible feat, as even some of the world’s strongest men would struggle to lift a similar weight.

In reality, the average man can only lift 100 lb (45 kg) above his head (with difficulty), while orangutans can lift up to 500 lb (227 kg)

When lifting heavy weights, orangutans are the superior species. Unlike predators, orangutans use this strength advantage for more mundane things, like climbing trees or moving between branches.

Orangutan grip vs human grip

Orangutans have an incredibly strong grip, which allows them to hang from tree branches for long periods. Humans, on the other hand, have a relatively weak grip in comparison.

The average human can generate up to 76 psi of gripping force, whereas an orangutan’s grip strength is significantly higher at 600 psi.

Held Hostage by an Orangutan, Bukit Lawang Jungle

The difference is that, over time, orangutans have evolved to live in trees.

Their stronger grip is an adaptation that allows them a greater chance of survival in their environment.

Are orangutans stronger than gorillas?

orangutan vs gorilla

Even though orangutans are generally taller than gorillas, they are not stronger than gorillas. 

Orangutans are arboreal and have evolved to live in trees, whereas gorillas are terrestrial animals adapted to the ground. Gorillas are also stockier and heavily built, while orangutans are larger and leaner. Furthermore, gorillas have sharp canines, which orangutans lack.

When it comes to strength, gorillas are undoubtedly stronger than orangutans.

Gorillas have an approximate bite force of 1,300 PSI, while orangutans only have a bite force of 575 PSI. This means that gorillas can bite harder than orangutans.

Gorillas are also stronger when it comes to pulling objects. In a tug of war, gorillas would always win.

This is because all adult gorillas can lift at least 1,000 pounds (450 kg), while orangutans can only lift about half of that.

Are orangutans stronger than chimps?

orangutan vs chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are known to be some of the most experienced fighters amongst the apes, but does that mean they’re stronger than orangutans? Let’s take a look at the comparisons between the two:

Orangutans outperform chimpanzees in terms of muscle mass and strength. Full-grown adult Orangutans weigh between 200 and 300 pounds, whereas chimps weigh between 70-150 pounds.

Orangutans have longer arms than chimps, giving them greater reach.

However, chimpanzees do have stronger hind limbs. This gives them an advantage when it comes to running and jumping.

Regarding physical strength for lifting weights, orangutans have shown that they are much stronger than humans (up to 5 times when lifting weight), whereas chimps have shown impressive strength for their size; research suggests they are only 1.5 times stronger than humans.

As you can see, chimps have their advantages, but overall, orangutans are much stronger than chimpanzees.

How did orangutans become so strong?

These animals must be strong to shift their weight from tree to tree and keep it in the air for long periods. 

This necessitates a lot of strength in their arm muscles, which comes from deeper arm muscle inserts and flexible hips and shoulders.

Harry the 300lb Orangutan LOVES to Swing!

Final thoughts on the strength of orangutans

Orangutans are one of the strongest apes in the world. They are stronger than chimpanzees and humans but not as strong as gorillas.

Orangutans have enough strength to fight off their rivals, carry themselves in the treetops, and even defend themselves against predators if necessary. 

FAQs

How much can an orangutan lift?

Orangutans are incredibly strong apes and have been known to lift weights twice their body weight. Some have even been recorded lifting weights that are 500 lbs.

Are orangutans aggressive?

In the wild, orangutans are recognized for their solitary and tranquil nature. Males may fight each other to win the affection of females to reproduce, but they’re generally very peaceful animals.

How hard can orangutans punch?

Even though orangutans aren’t known for getting into fights, you can still easily tell how powerful their punches are because they have a grip strength of around 600 pounds. They can even use their hands to pound on a tree to produce sound; try hitting a tree to see how hard that is to do yourself.