White-Handed Gibbons

White-Handed Gibbons

These long arms sure can swing. We are home to brothers ‘Majimel’ and ‘Maximus’.

Meet the fastest of all primates

White-handed gibbons move so quickly through their forest home that they practically fly, easily swinging 10 meters or more at speeds up to 56 kilometres per hour. In addition to their arms spanning 1.5 metres, white-handed gibbons have opposable thumbs and long, curved fingers that act as hooks, making it easy for them to swing hand over hand, or “brachiate”, between trees. Gibbons are largely frugivorous, and while they can be picky about which fruits they eat, their adaptations make finding food easy.

  • IUCN Red List Status: Endangered (at very high risk of extinction in the wild)
  • Type: Mammal
  • Habitat: Tropical forests of southeast Asia
  • Diet: Omnivore – fruits, leaves, and insects
  • Size: 17 to 25 inches
  • Weight: 10 to 17 pounds
White-Handed Gibbons White-Handed Gibbons
White-Handed Gibbons

Care & Conservation

How we care for them

At the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, we are bringing together our passion for plants and animals with our dedication to taking and inspiring action to sustain wildlife and wild places.
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Facts about our animals

Fun Facts about White-Handed Gibbons

When they sleep, gibbons rest their heads between their knees and chests.

Their arms are approximately one and a half times longer than their legs.

Gibbons have a saddle joint in their wrists, which give them extra flexibility.

Gibbons are bipedal, and if walking on the ground or across tree limbs on two feet, will hold their long arms up for balance.

Gibbons drink by dipping their hands into water, or by licking their fur after purposely rubbing in wet leaves, or after a rainstorm.

White-handed gibbons communicate through intricate songs which can be heard up to a kilometre away.

White-Handed Gibbons


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