Tips & News

Have You Seen the Orangutan Trying on Sunglasses on TikTok Yet?

She's just as smart as you, but probably has a better sense of style.

Photo by David Gonzales/Pexels/Canva

By Cailey Rizzo

Aug 6, 2021


Earlier this week, an orangutan at a zoo in Indonesia donned a pair of round sunglasses after a visitor dropped them in its enclosure — and the whole thing was caught on video.

“So I’m down a pair of sunglasses but up a very good story,” social media user Lola Tetsu wrote in her caption of the video uploaded to TikTok.

After dropping her sunglasses in the orangutan enclosure, Tetsu assumed they were gone for good. As one orangutan ambled over to investigate what she had dropped, a voice in the clip exclaimed, “Oh no! Don’t eat it!”


So I’m down a pair of sunglasses but up a very good story #monke

♬ original sound – Lola Testu

But the orangutan was far too smart for that. The ape had seen humans donning the funny object before — and knew precisely what to do with her new toy.

After cautiously meandering over to the fallen object, baby in tow, the orangutan knew to flick out the arms of the sunglasses and stick them up to her face. It wasn’t long until the sunglasses were perched on the bridge of her nose and she was sitting in the sun with a serene look on her face.

The orangutan even shooed away her curious infant who wanted to try on the new glasses for itself. She enjoyed a few brief moments with the shades before deciding enough was enough and flung the sunglasses back out into the enclosure.

Several TikTok commenters remarked on how humanlike the orangutan’s behavior was, postulating that he knew how to wear the glasses after seeing zoo visitors wearing their own. “I swear they can talk but just don’t want to pay taxes,” one TikTok commenter wrote.

Orangutans are great apes and capable of imitating human behavior. According to the World Wildlife Fund, humans and orangutans share 96.4% of genes. In 2016, an orangutan named Rocky at the Indianapolis Zoo was recorded mimicking human speech. Researchers observed Rocky to learn more about how humans developed the ability to control their voices — and how great apes might do the same.

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