Orangutan Washes Her Hands After Seeing Her Human Caregivers Do It

Orangutan Washes Her Hands After Seeing Her Human Caregivers Do It

Orangutans are so smart, and they’re really observant too, apparently! During this season of social distancing and extra handwashing, one orangutan even noticed that. And she decided she needed to wash her hands, too. This video of her hand-washing went viral, and it’s easy to see why!


Many people might consider themselves animal caretakers because they have pets. However, only the most qualified of animal caretakers spend time with animals such as the great primates. Sandra is an orangutan at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida. This sanctuary houses chimpanzees and of course orangutans. The sanctuary acts as a home for retired and rescued apes.

If you are wondering how an ape can retire - think about the apes who appear in movies or TV shows (Not Planet of the Apes, though, because those weren’t real. Ha!)

At the center the apes receive care and nurturing for the rest of their lives. The workers here care so much for their hairy friends, that each ape has an individual profile page on their website. The sanctuary website even lists the profiles of apes who have passed on under a special “In Memoriam” section.

Sandra has quite the process for her handwashing. For starters, she uses a brush and has a bucket of soapy water. She must intend to be extra clean! Like humans, she washes the front and back, and she washes for way longer than the suggested twenty-seconds. There will be no germs left when she’s done!

But wait, she doesn’t stop with herself. Sandra started to clean her surroundings, even brushing a nearby tree. Afterwards, she empties her bucket of water. All done!

If you’re wondering, her caretakers didn’t ‘teach’ her how to wash her hands during the pandemic. She learned it all on her own from watching her humans.

The popularity of Sandra’s handwashing video is perfectly timed with the current coronavirus pandemic. Aside from being cute and hilarious, the video is also a reminder to wash your hands and practice good hygiene.