With the Chinese New Year starting this week, in the Year of the Monkey, let’s take a look at some of the world’s monkeys.
There are 260 species of this primate in the world, and they are divided into two groups: Old World and New World. Old World monkeys live in Africa and Asia; New World are in South and Central America.
Primarily arboreal but sometimes ground-dwelling, this intelligent mammal usually lives in forests or savanna, and is active in daytime. They all have a tail, and diet consists mainly of fruit and leaves, sometimes insects. Gorillas and lemurs are not monkeys, but baboons are. To learn more about monkeys click here.
Monkeys are famously fun for humans to watch. They are playful, mischievous, tribal, and curiously similar to humans. Go to any zoo, and this is where you will find the most human observers.
Here is a gallery of monkey photos, all taken by Athena, and a brief account of each sighting. In addition, each species name is linked to Wikipedia for more information.
Blue monkeys are not really blue, and they are a female-bonded society living in Africa. Sometimes the little bit of hair on the face gives the monkey a blue tinge. Tree-dwelling.
We watched these elegant black-and-white colobus monkeys on a walking safari near Mt. Kenya. Exclusive to Africa, and acrobats in the trees, they precariously flew from one treetop to the next. They would land in a thatch of green leaves and tumble around until they gained purchase on a limb.
These olive baboons were prevalent in Tanzania and traveled together in large troops. Dominated by the large males, they often groomed one another, and occasionally had minor social spats. Papio anubis are the most wide-ranging of all baboons, living in 25 countries throughout Africa.
Brown capuchins joined us daily in a cloud forest in Peru, at Cock of the Rock Lodge in Manu National Park.
I have heard so many monkeys landing on our hut roofs in both the Old and New Worlds, that even when I hear something on the roof in a monkey-less land like California, my first thought is “monkey.”
Howlers are large monkeys, 22-36 inches long (56-92 cm), excluding the long prehensile tail. Their beauty is their sound, a howling and growling that is unforgettable. (Wikipedia link here, on the word “Howlers” above, includes a sound byte.)
I love watching monkeys. They remind me to jump with joy, be active and curious, and tenderly tend to my loved ones. Happy New Year!
All photos: Athena Alexander