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Monkey Types & Facts

An entire barrel full of Monkeys. They’re stunning as well as mischievous and mysterious–monkeys! They have many different adaptations in accordance with their environment. They are mostly arboreal. Others, like macaques, mangabeys, and even baboons, have more of a terrestrial nature. The majority of monkeys utilize their hands and feet for holding onto branches, but some arboreal monkeys are able to employ their tails too. Tails that can grab or hold are known as prehensile. These specific tails are ridged on the underside and extremely elastic, so that they can grab branches from trees or grab things as small as a peanut!

Monkeys are located in two major regions in the world, so scientists have grouped them as either Old World monkeys or New World monkeys. Old World monkeys can be found across Africa as well as Asia. A few examples include guenons mangabeys, macaques, baboons and colobus monkeys. New World monkeys are found in Mexico, Central America, and South America. There are examples of woolly monkeys, spider monkeys and howler monkeys capuchin monkeys, as well as squirrel monkeys. Tamarins and marmosets also reside inside New World habitats but are distinct enough to be part of their own different scientific grouping.

There are a few characteristics that are different in Old World and New World monkeys:

Noses: Most Old World monkeys have small nostrils with a curving design that sit close together. The majority of modern World species have round nostrils spaced far apart.

Cheek pouches: Macaques , as well as some of the other Old World monkeys have cheek pouches. They are where food is stuffed on the run, so it can be chewed later. New World monkeys don’t have cheek pouches.

Rump pads: Some Old World monkeys, such as drills, have pad on the rumps however, New World monkeys do not.

Tails: Some New World monkeys, such as spider monkeys, have tails with prehensile muscles, but Old World monkeys do not. Also, one Old World monkey, the Barbary macaque, does not have a tail at all!


Most monkeys are found in the tropical rainforests of Asia, Africa, along with Central as well as South America, or the Savannahs of Africa. Geladas and golden monkeys are mountain dwellers. Japanese macaques inhabit parts of Japan in areas where it snows. they are the ones you may have seen on TV that find hot springs and spend lots of time in the winter sitting in the warm water, similar to the macaque Jacuzzi! Baboons reside in savannas open wooded areas and steep hillsides. Although they can climb trees, they spend the majority of their time in the ground.

Monkeys are renowned for their tree-swinging feats that put human acrobats to shame! A lot of monkeys utilize the “arm over arm” technique you may have seen children practicing on the “monkey bars” at the playground! Colobus monkeys, unlike other monkeys are able to walk with hind legs which are longer than their forelimbs. This allows for incredible leaping ability with incredible speed.

Foot of a monkey is as flexible their hands, and they also assist them travel through small branches that are high in the canopy of rainforest. Monkeys are a key player in their native habitats through pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds as they travel. Certain monkeys are able to swim; their webbed feet help them swim through the water and they may paddle across a river or river to avoid predators , or find food.

Owls and night-time monkeys are solely nocturnal, using their large eyes to be able to see clearly in the dark. They communicate with each other through scents and calls, with grunts that echo in the woods.

Prehensile tails come in handy to hold on as a monkey hunts for food, such as flowers and fruits, nuts, leaves, seeds, insects, birds’ eggs spiders, smaller mammals. The Old World monkeys fill up their large cheek pouches with fruits, leaves, and insects as they hunt throughout the day while stopping in their chewing and eating once they find a secure place to lay down. Baboons also take meat when they capture it, such as young antelopes, rabbits, and birds such as the guinea fowl.

Leaves are the main food that is preferred by certain kinds of monkeys. Colobus monkeys and langurs both have chambered stomachs with bacteria that aid in the fermentation process to digest and digest leaf matter. Geladas prefer to graze on grass!

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