What sounds does an infant orangutan make? Primate keeper Erin Stromberg filmed the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s 2-year-old Bornean orangutan Redd as he pleaded with his mother to share her food. Get the scoop on this and his latest milestones in this Q&A with Stromberg.
Why is Redd vocalizing towards Batang?
Whenever Redd wants something—an enrichment item or a piece of food—he will make a whimpering sound. The octave changes based on his mood and desire. When he is asking his mother, Batang, for food nicely, he will do so at a lower octave. But, when he is overtired or he is not able to do what he wants, the vocalizations become high-pitched and intense. The vocalization in this video indicates that Redd is annoyed—his mom has food and he wants her to know his displeasure at her unwillingness to share. Batang will often hand him food, but if she wants it, she is going to keep it.