Ouch! Orangutans Eat Slow Lorises.

Credit: Malene Thyssen via <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pongo_pygmaeus_(orangutang).jpg">PhotogrWikimedia Commonspher</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

A new paper in the American Journal of Primatology reports on new instances of adult female Sumatran orangutans eating slow lorises.

From the paper:

We report 3 rare cases of meat-eating of slow lorises, Nycticebus coucang, by 1 Sumatran orangutan mother–infant dyad in Ketambe, Indonesia, to examine how orangutans find slow lorises and share meat.

In the video below, you can see a female after she knocked a slow loris out of a tree and bit it on the head (probably to avoid getting bitten herself since lorises have poisonous saliva), then carried it back to eat in the tree and try not to share it with her infant.

As  Madeleine Hardus at the University of Amsterdam et al report:

The mother often rejected meat sharing requests and only the infant initiated meat sharing.

   

     

Unlike chimpanzees, who hunt when fruit and their energy are abundant, the authors of this paper found orangs hunt only when fruit is scarce.

Slow loris captures occurred only during low ripe fruit availability, suggesting that meat may represent a filler fallback food for orangutans.

The authors also found that orangutans eat their meat more than twice as slowly as chimpanzees. Does this signify anything for human evolution?

Using orangutan data as a model, time spent chewing per day would not require an excessive amount of time for our social ancestors (australopithecines and hominids), as long as meat represented no more than a quarter of their diet.

Still, it’s way better to tickle your slow loris than eat it, even slowly.

 

 

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate