Orangutan uses wet towel to cool down

Posted on August 27, 2011


How to beat the heat - the skilful primate shows uncanny human behaviour

One resident at Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo has been impressing visitors with its hygiene skills. The orangutan uses a wet towel to clean itself, carefully wringing out the water before having a wash to stay cool.

I don’t know the history behind this ape, but my hunch is that it may well have been a pet at some point in its life and will have learned this behaviour from watching its human owners. At one point the ape mimics a barman cleaning down his section for the night.

Orangutans are very intelligent primates and are known to use “tools” in the wild. Like humans they have opposable thumbs (the thumb can touch each finger on the same hand) which makes it easy for them to grasp and handle objects.