White-Handed Gibbon

White-Handed Gibbon
White-Handed Gibbon
Ed Wray/Associated Press

Although sometimes referred to as the common lar or lar gibbon, this long-limbed, tail-less primate sports white fur on its hands and feet and hence is more popularly known as the white-handed gibbon.

True brachiators, gibbons move faster and display greater agility than any other group of primates. Primatologists jokingly refer to them as "real swingers."


They can reach speeds of up to thirty-one miles (50 km) per hour and hurl themselves some forty feet (12 m) from branch to branch.

They live in small family groups and forage together on shoots, leaves, fruit, buds, flowers, and occasionally insects.

Different forms of the white-handed gibbon vary in their color and calls, depending on the geographic location.

Animal Facts

Name: White-Handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar)

Family: Hylobatidae (Gibbons and Siamangs)

Range: Southeast Asia and China

Habitat: Tropical evergreen to tropical dry forest

Diet: Fruits, leaves, insects and flowers

Head and Body Length: 18 to 25 inches (45 to 63 cm)

Weight: 11 to 18 pounds (5 to 8 kg)

Life Cycle: Gestation 200 to 212 days; usually one young born

Description: Cream, red, brown or black in color; white fur around face, feet and hands; black skin; very long arms; small thumbs; hard-skinned sitting pads

Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Near Threatened)

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation

What Can I Do?: Visit the International Center for Gibbon Studies for information on how you can help.