MNN Galleries

13 of the cutest tree-dwelling animals in the world

By: Bryan Nelson on June 3, 2013, 5:34 p.m.
A gibbon hangs from a branch with one hand

Photo: aeiddam0853578919/Shutterstock

9 of 15


Gibbons are perhaps most recognizable for their iconic form of locomotion, called "brachiation." Though they aren't the only primates to use this form of locomotion, they are probably the most adept at it. Their long arms, agile bodies and reduced thumbs (which better allows them to cup branches) allow them to swing among the trees like no other. In fact, gibbons are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals.

They're also pretty cute, and often sweet-natured to boot. In fact, most gibbons form monogamous pair bonds and share many of the same duties between males and females.

It can be easy to confuse gibbons for monkeys, but they're actually apes — more closely related to the great apes, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans.

The short video below shows a gibbon brachiating as only it can.