Monkeys are social and active animals that live worldwide and come in different shapes, sizes, and colours. Monkeys are estimated to have more than 260 species, and they are separated into two main categories, the New World category and the Old World category. While Old World monkeys exist in Asia and Africa, New World monkeys are found throughout North and South America.
Their ages range from 10 to 40 years, and in the wild, they can live up to 40 years. Baboons are the longest-lived species of monkeys. There are five different types of baboons, most of whom live in the savanna, and Japanese macaques live from 22 to 27 years.
Most monkey types live in the tropical rainforests of Asia, Africa, Central and South America, or the savannahs of Africa. Japanese macaques are known to live in parts of Japan where it snows. They have flexible feet like their hands, which helps them navigate through small, elevated branches within the rainforest.
The majority of people believe that monkeys only eat bananas as food, but this is a misconception, as they also eat meat and plant foods, as They are carnivores, and most monkeys eat nuts, fruits, seeds, and flowers.
As predators, monkeys feed on many organisms, such as insects, bird eggs, lizards, and spiders. In their role as prey, they are a source of nourishment for a wide range of creatures, including other monkeys, big cats, and snakes, and because of this, they enhance the survival of these organisms.
Gestation periods for monkeys vary according to sex. For example, the gestation period of a rhesus monkey is 160-170 days, and baboons have a gestation period of about 178 days. When monkeys are born, the young ones are mainly cared for by their mothers.
Facts about monkeys
Several surprising facts about monkeys are not publicly circulated, including:
When there is a shortage of food, females stop mating and procreating until conditions change, and also, when conditions are appropriate, females give birth once every two years.
According to NASA, the rhesus monkey was the first alien organism to ascend into space in 1948 when it was launched at White Sands.
When a group of howling monkeys screams, the howl is the sound of their screams, and their howls can be heard from approximately 4.8 km away.
Monkeys smiling or tightening their lips are signs of aggression. They also use yawning and bobbing the head signs of attack as well as shaking the head and shoulders forward.
They express sympathy and reconcile with each other by caring for each other. It is worth mentioning that New World monkeys have a broader jaw that consists of 36 teeth, while Old World monkeys have a slightly narrower jaw of 32 teeth.
What are the differences between modern-world monkeys and old-world monkeys?
New World monkeys can generally swing their tails, and Old World monkeys cannot.
There are some discrepancies in characteristics between Old World and New World monkeys, namely:
Most Old World monkeys have small, curved nostrils, while most New World monkeys have round nostrils wide apart.
The cheek bags:
Old World monkeys have cheek pouches, in which food is stored so that it can be chewed later, while New World monkeys do not have cheek pouches.
Old World monkeys have rump pads, while New World monkeys do not.
Some New World monkeys have prehensile tails, but Old World monkeys do not have prehensile tails, and the Old World Barbary macaque has no tail.
Being loud creatures, monkeys use a variety of sounds to communicate with one another. They have a specific shout to warn of danger, another to contact a partner, and even to interact with their young. Although communication has been studied for a long time, there are many details about which we still need to learn more.
What is the average lifespan of monkeys?
Monkeys usually live 40 to 50 years in the wild and live a little longer in captivity. The life expectancy of monkeys varies among species. As members of the primate order, they go through stages of development similar to humans. Newborn monkeys are entirely dependent on their mothers until the age of five, when they enter the small set of actions.
The adolescent period of monkeys usually begins at about eight years, and sexual maturity reaches 16 years from this moment on, and they are considered adults and completely independent. Most monkeys die around the age of fifty years if they do not suffer an accident, such as a predator attack or death by a man’s hand.
Monkeys differ and vary according to their varieties and types. Some of them are huge, large in size, and larger than humans, and some are small, the size of a domestic cat, but they are very similar in their external shape. All monkeys of all kinds live in groups to mate and reproduce and protect the senior group for the young monkeys.
Gorillas are the most immense, violent, and aggressive of all types of monkeys. They are known for their famous movement, beating on their chest when angry or threatened with danger, and gorillas are spread in central and western Africa. There are two types of it; mountain gorillas and gorillas that live in lowland areas. Its length ranges between 1.2–1.8 m, and the weight of an adult gorilla may reach about 220 kg.
The primary habitat of gorilla monkeys is in the tropical forests of Africa near its western lowlands and the coast of Cameroon through the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, and Angola, as some of them live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Behaviour and feeding
A set of behaviours characterizes gorilla monkeys, and the most prominent of them are:
Gorillas are known to live in groups of up to 30 individuals, and they have a leader responsible for eating, moving, nesting, etc.
Gorillas communicate with a group of sounds and shouts of no less than 22.
Gorilla behaviour is calm, friendly, and shy, as they do not show aggression unless it feels threatened.
Males compete through fighting, and the male who is defeated kills his infant offspring.
Gorillas live in nests built on the ground or trees using branches and leaves.
Gorillas are herbivores, as they feed on plants with stem sap, eating or eating tree leaves, berries, ferns, fibrous bark, shoots, roots, wild celery, and some types of fruits.
It is the habit of gorillas not to completely strip the land they live of their vegetation to allow nature to grow again, and the food stock is renewed in its living area.
There is no specific season for mating in the gorilla, and the pregnancy period extends to 9 months when the female is vaccinated. When she gives birth to her young, she breastfeeds him for a period ranging from 3 to 4 years, and the pregnancy is repeated in the female gorilla every Four years, and usually one dominant male in the group mates with all the females in it.
Baboons are one of the types of monkeys of the old world, and they are burly and aggressive. Their prominent eyebrows and relatively small eyes give them their distinguished appearance. The male baboon is double the size of the female, in addition to their prominent thick hair in the neck area.
Baboons share with humans 91% of the genetic material. Five different types of baboon monkeys are widely spread. They are the second most common Primates after humans.
Baboons are known to live in tropical regions in Asia and Africa. They are divided into two main parts: Old World monkeys in Asia and Africa and New World monkeys in North and Latin America. One of the main differences between them is that New World monkeys have longer tails that they can use.
The habitat of baboons is confined to central Africa south of the Sahara Desert and in the Arabian Peninsula region, and baboons take their places of living in savannas, grassy plains, and rainy forest habitats. It is also found in the hills along the Red Sea.
Behaviour and feeding
The behaviour of baboons can be described as follows:
Baboons are social animals found in groups of hundreds of members, so individuals protect each other. A dominant male leads them.
Baby baboons play wrestling, chasing, and swinging together.
Baboons prefer to live on the ground but take trees as a place to sleep, eat, and watch.
Baboons depend on plant foods and meat for nutrition, as they eat fruits, seeds, herbs, tree roots, insects, eggs, worms, and small vertebrates. Baboons can also feed on some types of birds, young antelopes, sheep, and some types of mammals.
The baboon breeding season is throughout the year, and males compete for females in the group, and one female may mate with more than one male. The same applies to the male baboon; after the female is vaccinated, her pregnancy lasts about 180 days. Baby baboons depend on suckling for a period ranging from 3 to 4 months.
Mandrill monkeys are giant monkeys, distinguished by their noses protruding outwards like dogs’ noses. Their colour is red, and their teeth protrude outward, making them look like deadly predators, and they spread in West Africa, especially Cameroon. They prefer to eat fruits and insects. Some may think that it belongs to the baboons, but it differs from it.
The habitat of the mandrill monkey is southwestern Cameroon, and it is also found in western Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and southwestern Congo. This monkey tends to live in tropical rainforests, dense and mountainous forests, and dense jungles.
Behaviour and feeding
Mandrills have a set of behaviours, including the following:
- Mandrills spend the day on the ground and climb trees to sleep at night.
- The mandrill is a social animal, as it lives in groups of up to 50 individuals.
- The group of mandrill monkeys is dominated by a male leader, who is usually absent from the group and only returns when there is danger.
- The mandrill shakes its legs, shoulders, and head to express a sense of fun.
- It yawns as a sign of its inability to implement what is required.
- The mandrill monkey feeds on plants, such as fruits, seeds, fungi, and tree roots.
- It also deals with insects, snails, worms, frogs, lizards, snakes, and small vertebrates.
- Mandrills have bags in their cheeks to store snacks to eat later.
Mating occurs in the Mandrill community from July to October, and mating is repeated every two years. The dominant male in the group often mates with more than one female, and when the female becomes pregnant, her pregnancy lasts six months.
Blue monkey is a unique type of monkey, and it is one of the monkeys of the ancient world. It is called blue, but it is not entirely blue. Its colour is olive dotted with black and white, and sometimes of the year. It turns grey to match the surrounding environment.
The region of central, eastern and southern Africa is the primary habitat of the blue monkey, and there are a number of them in the Congo Basin region. The blue monkey prefers to live in rainforest areas to obtain water, food, and shelter.
Behaviour and feeding
The behaviour of the blue monkey can be described as follows:
The blue monkey is a social animal that lives in groups of between 10 and 40 individuals.
Blue monkeys communicate with each other with facial markings and body language.
The blue monkey depends on other animals for its food, especially invertebrates that feed on molluscs and worms. Its diet also includes plants, especially; fruit and tree leaves.
The mating season between blue monkeys extends throughout the year. Mating is repeated annually, in which the female is vaccinated by more than one male, as the female sends signals in body language to the male as a sign of acceptance of mating and the duration of the female pregnancy lasts for five months, after which she breastfeeds her children for a period of six months.
Macaques are one of the most similar monkeys to humans in their external appearance, and the absence of a tail like other monkeys distinguishes this species. Macaques are considered among the most dangerous monkeys to the human race. Where a bite from it leads to the death of a person immediately because most of them carry the herpes B virus, and this virus does not cause any harm to the monkeys that have it, except that it is fatal to humans.
Macaques are divided into two main groups: Old World monkeys in Asia and Africa and New World monkeys in North and Latin America. The main difference between them is that New World monkeys have long tails that they can use.
Macaques are widely found in western Afghanistan and across India to northern Thailand. They lived in ancient times in southern China and Tibet in such harsh weather conditions, and there are some macaques in urban areas in the north of India.
Behaviour and feeding
The behaviour of macaques is described as follows:
Macaques live in large, noisy groups of up to 200 individuals.
Males dominate the group, but females lead it because males do not keep in contact with their groups.
Macaques love swimming in water bodies.
Macaques are carnivores, as they feed on small animals and insects, but their diet also includes many plants such as; Herbs, fruits, and crops. The diet of macaques varies according to the environment in which they live. Monkeys in northern Pakistan may feed on alfalfa throughout the summer and eat pine and oak leaves during the snowy winter.
Mating between macaques varies according to the environment in which they live. If they live in cold regions, the mating season takes place during the fall season, and the duration of the female pregnancy reaches 165 days, after which she gives birth to one baby that she breastfeeds for a whole year.
The Japanese macaques live in the mountainous regions of Japan, and these regions are distinguished by their snowy winter and hot summer weather. These monkeys enjoy the coldness of snow through their continuous play with snow in the form of groups.
Macaques are able to adapt to severe climatic changes. The hot springs close to the Cogen volcano provide the warmth these monkeys need to survive the winter. Old World monkeys are separated into two sections: those located in Asia and Africa. The modern world is on the continent of North and Latin America, and the main difference between them is that New World monkeys have long tails that they can use.
The Japanese macaques live on three islands: Honshu Island, Shikoku Island, and Kyushu Island. It is also found in a few smaller islands, some of which have been moved to the Texas region. Japanese macaques live in subtropical and semi-mountainous forests and broad-leaved temperate deciduous forests. Japanese macaques fluctuate in temperatures between the summer and winter in some areas, ranging from -15 to more than 23 degrees Celsius.
Behaviour and feeding
The Japanese macaques perform several behaviours that distinguish them, including the following:
These monkeys are in groups of 20 to 30, with a male leader.
Support, protection, sharing of food, and warning when feeling danger prevails among Japanese macaques.
Females prefer to spend most of their time on trees, while males are on the ground.
Japanese macaques communicate with each other using six different sounds, which they use for various purposes.
Japanese macaques use different facial expressions to communicate, such as opening mouths to display teeth, raising eyebrows, etc.
Japanese macaques eat meat, such as insects, crabs, and bird eggs, during the cold winter months. They depend heavily on plants for their food, so they eat seeds, fruits, nuts, tree stems and fibrous leaves, and the diet of Japanese macaques usually changes from season to season.
Japanese macaques breed during the mating season, extending from September to April, and mate once a year. The male and the female mate with more than one partner, and when the female becomes pregnant, the average period of her pregnancy lasts for about 171.7 days, after which she gives birth. The female gives birth and breastfeeds it for a period ranging from 6 to 30 months.
It is a monkey belonging to the New World monkeys, lives in trees only, and is active during the day only. It is known as one of the most intelligent monkeys in the New World, so it is used extensively in scientific experiments.
The original home of capuchin monkeys is the new tropical region of Central America. They spread in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, along the coast of Colombia and Ecuador. Some live in Argentina, and some in southern regions.
Capuchin monkeys prefer to live in tropical green areas and dry deciduous forests, especially forests in which the vegetation covers canopies up to 1100 m high, but they can adapt to various environments such as; wet, dry forests, etc.
Behaviour and feeding
The capuchin follows several behaviours that can be monitored, including the following:
Capuchin monkeys live in groups of 18 to 20 individuals.
The capuchin uses its tail to grasp things and cling to tree branches.
Capuchin monkeys bark and cough to alert other monkeys to the presence of a predator.
The capuchin uses its teeth and claws to defend itself.
The eating habits of the capuchin monkey vary between plants and meat, as its food consists of 50-80% of fruits and about 10% of other plants, such as nuts, grains, and seeds. It can eat 63 different types of plants, and its diet includes about 30 % Animal food, such as insects, invertebrates, and small vertebrates.
The breeding season of capuchin monkeys is active between January and April. Still, they can mate throughout the year, and the female becomes pregnant once every two years, just as male and female capuchin monkeys breed with more than one partner. The female pregnancy lasts an average of 160 days, then she gives birth to one baby and works for breastfeeding him between 2 to 4 months.
It gained this name due to its resemblance to a squirrel, part of the New World monkeys and can adapt significantly to several different environments. It is divided into two main parts: Old World monkeys in Asia and Africa and Modern World monkeys in North and Latin America, and the main difference between them is that New World monkeys have long tails that they can use.
Squirrel monkeys live in the tropical rainforests in the continent of South America, especially in the riverside forests in Guyana. In the Amazon River Basin, the squirrel monkey’s presence is rare in southeastern Brazil’s coastal forests. They prefer to live in medium forest levels and may be found in limited numbers in forests with upper canopies and in flat lands.
Behaviour and feeding
The behavioural pattern of the squirrel monkey is described as follows:
The squirrel monkey lives in groups of up to 300 individuals, and within each group, there are sub-groups.
Individual groups tend to distance themselves from each other, and they only meet to search for food.
The squirrel monkeys are active around water sources and during the daytime. Squirrel monkeys communicate with each other through 26 different sounds, such as purring, barking, squealing, screaming, etc.
A young squirrel monkey travels on its mother’s back for a year.
The squirrel monkey’s diet is represented by fruits, leaves, and seeds, as it feeds on insects, spiders, and small vertebrates.
The mating season of squirrel monkeys is from September to November, as they choose the heavy rainy season so that water and food are abundant. When the female fertilizes, she becomes pregnant for a period ranging from 160 to 170 days.
Golden Lion monkey
The golden lion monkey is a newly discovered monkey species, and it is distinguished by the fact that when exposed to the sun, it becomes golden in colour, so it is attractive. It has been used in myths and stories, while its normal colour is reddish orange. Its numbers are greatly declining, and it is classified as endangered due to human activities represented by logging and trade in rare animals. Their sizes are small, but they have very long and fluffy tails.
The golden lion monkey is divided into two main parts; Old World monkeys in Asia and Africa and Modern World monkeys in North and Latin America. The main difference between them is that New World monkeys have long tails that they can use.
The original habitat of the golden lion monkey is the coastal rain forests located in the southeastern region of Brazil. These monkeys prefer to live in environments with a very humid climate and in dense forests with many vineyards.
Behaviour and feeding
Among the behavioural patterns of the golden lion monkey are the following:
The golden lion monkey lives in small groups, the number of which does not exceed 2 to 8 individuals, and they are usually from one family.
The monkey stays suspended 10 to 30 meters off the ground.
The golden lion monkey sleeps in tree holes to protect itself from predators.
The golden lion monkey performs several behaviours as a threat, such as opening its mouth, back arching, and squinting.
Golden lion monkeys feed mainly on insects, using their long and slender fingers to search for insects in the cracks of trees. They also eat spiders, snails, eggs, fruits, vegetables, birds and small lizards.
The golden lion monkey reproduces between September and March. Reproduction is repeated twice during one year, and the golden lion monkey takes one mating partner, so the female becomes pregnant for a period ranging between 130-135 days and gives birth to twin babies. The parents cooperate to take care of them, and the mother breastfeeds them for a period of 90 days.
So named for having the loudest vocalizations among monkeys or even of all animals, they are one of the great New World monkeys. They have long tails that enable them to hunt, pick up things, and see all colours, just like humans.
It is divided into two main parts: Old World monkeys in Asia and Africa and Modern World monkeys in North and Latin America, and the main difference between them is that New World monkeys have long tails that they can use.
Howler monkeys live in the rainforests in central South America, as they are found in the forests across eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. These monkeys tend to live in semi-tropical deciduous forest environments, which are proportioned throughout the year.
Howler monkeys also live in tropical deciduous forests in which savanna-like openings spread, and the climate varies between wet and warm and dry and cold.
Behaviour and feeding
The howler monkey shows some behaviours in its wildlife, including:
Howler monkeys live in large groups, most of whose members are from one family.
All members of one group of howler monkeys emit calls every morning to tell the other neighbouring groups where they are staying as a kind of distinction of their sites.
The howler monkey is a plant-animal, as it feeds mainly on tree leaves, and eats fruits, buds, and flowers, so howler monkeys stay on the trees and get their share of water through the food they eat, but in dry seasons they come down to drink water from lakes. They feed on the grassy plants found in the swamps.
Mating occurs between several females and males of howler monkeys, and the female mates once during the year, carrying it for up to 12 months, and when she gives birth to her young, she works for breastfeeding him for a whole year.
Mandrill Baboons are similar to baboons found in African regions such as the Congo, Gabon, and Cameroon. They live in large groups, mostly in tropical rainforests. Evidently, they are omnivorous animals as they eat insects and fruits; however, they also eat leaves and stems for fibre.
Mandrill monkeys have reddish to pinkish hair, sometimes ranging to blue or even purple, around their noses and butts. The IUCN included them in the list of vulnerable species. Although conflicts within the group are rare, Mandrill Baboons can be violent, and when they fight, they can be deadly.
The Hammadras baboons are a species of Old World monkey. They are primarily found in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula’s southern region, particularly Saudi Arabia.
It is also important to note that the Hamdaria family, also known as the sacred baboon, had a crucial part in the ancient Egyptian religion. It is believed that they evolved into carnivores as a result of how difficult it was for them to get food during the long dry seasons in the desert region where they are found.
Orangutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia, live in Sumatra and Borneo’s rainforests, and belong to the Bongo family. Orangutans are classified into three dominant subspecies; they live most of their time in trees and are known for their reddish-brown hair.
Orangutans live in isolation and don’t prefer socialising in large groups. The only proven social bond they have is only maternal. They basically consume fruits, but it has also been found that they also eat bird eggs, plants, insects, and honey.
It is 30 years old and is one of the most intelligent primates to be listed as endangered due to the loss of their natural homes, illegal trade, and many other issues.
Marmoset monkeys are classified as the smallest among the New World monkey family members, weighing around 225 grams. Twins are very common in marmoset families. Marmoset monkeys have claws on their toes except for their large toes, which, distinctively, have nails.
The chimpanzee’s feet, hands, and cheeks are hairless, and its black hair is distinctive for its coarse texture. It can grow to a length of 94 cm and weigh 65 kg. Even after they were weaned at age three, the kids and mother remain close.
The majority of monkeys have tails; however, chimpanzees do not, which is how they differ from other ape species.
Finally, most monkeys live in trees, but some live in savannas or mountainous areas. Monkey tribes are on the move to find food, so one location is not home for long. They are very social and active creatures.
Monkey groups are called missions, tribes, troops or vans. Troops work together to take care of the baby monkeys in the group. They also love to play, cuddle and protect each other. The strongest and largest male monkey is the leader of the group. In groups of the genus of monkeys that practice polygamy, the leader mates with several females.
If you enjoyed learning about this fascinating animal, why not check out more fantastic facts about other animals: Koalas, Land Animals, Sharks, Raccoons, Baboons, Bears, Pandas, endangered animals, Moose, and Whales.
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