Why do orangutans build nests?
Orangutans build nests primarily for the same reason that humans use beds—to have a comfortable place to sleep. Wild orangutans will either build a new nest or re-enter an old nest every night. They will also often rest in nests during the day. If Zoo visitors watch our orangutans for long enough, they are sure to see some interesting nests!
A fun fact about orangutan nests—and night nests, especially—is that where an orangutan builds a nest can indicate whom they prefer to socialize with, thereby giving the primate staff some insight into the orangutans’ relationships with one another.
One of our adult female orangutans, Batang, and her male infant, Redd, split their time between three groups: Kyle and Bonnie; Kiko and Iris; and Lucy. Batang and Redd also have the option to spend time together by themselves overnight. Other days, Batang—with Redd in tow—readily chooses to spend the night with the other adult orangutans.