White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Hylobatidae
Size:    Height: 3 feet (91 cm)
Weight: 11.5 to 12.5 pounds (5.3 to 5.7 kg)
Diet: Mostly ripe fruit, but also new leaves, buds, insects and sometimes birds
Distribution: Southern and southeast Asia
Young:  1 every 2 years
Animal Predators:  Leopards and clouded leopards
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Near Threatened
Terms: Group: Troop
Lifespan: Up to 30 years in captivity



·       The white-handed gibbon is also known as the “common gibbon” and the “lars gibbon.”

·       White-handed gibbons are able to leap up to 50 feet (15m) at speeds of up to 35 miles (56 km) per hour.



White-handed gibbons are small, slender apes with long arms. They have thick fur that is coloured black, light brown or grey. There is a fringe of white fur surrounding their face, which is naked and dark grey. They are named for the upper part of their hands and feet which are always white. They are extremely vocal animals, and have a throat sac that inflates when they sing or call out.



White-handed gibbons can be found in lowland and montane tropical rainforests, dry forests and tropical monsoons of China, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.


Feeding Habits

Their diets consist mostly of fruit, especially fruits high in sugar such as figs. They also eat young leaves and insects and may even catch and eat the occasional bird.  



Once mated, white-handed gibbon couples remain together for life. The female undergoes a seven month pregnancy before giving birth to a single, hairless baby who clings to the mother for warmth. The fur that first grows in is light, but is gradually replaced by darker fur. Youngsters are helpless at first, and only begin to sit upright after six to eight weeks. By the time they reach 10 weeks, they begin climbing. Although they keep nursing until they are one to two years of age, they begin to eat solid food sometime between two to four months. 



White-handed gibbons live in family groups consisting of a mother and father and their offspring of various years that have not yet reached maturity (about the age of eight). They can walk on two feet either on a branch or on the ground, but usually hold their arms above their heads while doing so, to keep their balance. White-handed gibbons rest and sleep in trees, usually in a sitting position. The members of the family show their affection for each other in various ways, including grooming each other and playing together. They are active during the day but rest in the shade during the midday, when it is hottest. 



Along with all species of gibbons, they are declining in population, mainly because of habitat destruction.