White-cheeked Gibbon

The white-cheeked gibbon has extremely long arms and legs. The male is usually black and the female is a lighter color, often with black patches. They have patches of lighter fur on their cheeks, though this is hard to distinguish on the female. White-cheeked gibbons also have a group of erect hairs (a crest) on the top of their heads.

They possess an opposable thumb that is used for climbing or grooming but not for swinging from branch to branch. White-handed gibbons usually move in this manner and can cover horizontal distances of 40 feet and vertical of 50 feet in one swing. They launch themselves and freefall until they catch another branch. They can move bipedally along branches or on the ground using their arms for balance.

Food

White-cheeked gibbons eat fruits, leaves and some insects.

Habitat

White-cheeked gibbons can be found in Laos, Vietnam, Hainan, southeastern China and eastern Cambodia. They live in tropical forests and are usually found in the canopy.

Predators

The primary predators of the white-cheeked gibbon are leopards, clouded leopards, and man.

Social Structure

White-cheeked gibbons live in small groups that are centered on the male and its mates. Young gibbons leave these groups in adolescence. These family groups defend their territories by song and threat display. These songs are usually initiated by the female and are a duet with specific parts. It seems that these songs are innate and not learned.

They are specific to the species. At night, white-cheeked gibbons sleep sitting up in groups in “sleeping” trees. These trees are usually off limits for other groups. The white-cheeked gibbon is the only gibbon that is not strictly monogamous.

Birth & Offspring

Young white-cheeked gibbons are born hairless and must rely on their mothers for warmth. They are born a light color and turn black after 6 months. Females will turn light again after adolescence. Young gibbons will stay with their parents until they are past adolescence and are chased off by their parents.

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