Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Monkeys
Why do people love monkeys so much? Is it because they resemble humans when they hold hands, carry their babies or chew their food? Monkeys seem to be happy animals who enjoy their life. We have expressions like “Stop monkeying around” because monkeys embody that easy-going attitude. The monkey house has always been one of the most popular exhibits at the zoo, and we enjoy all kinds of movies, TV shows and books that feature monkeys.
The truth is there are many more interesting facts about monkeys aside from how they make us laugh. Monkeys are known to have one of the biggest brains for their size, making them very intelligent, and some of their talents and abilities may surprise you.
Here are some fascinating facts about monkeys.
There are 260 different types of monkeys.
We can’t list them all, but some favorites are the Mandrill, Proboscis monkey, Rhesus macaque, Gelada, Japanese macaque, Vervet monkey, Guinea baboon, Dusky-leaf monkey, Golden-lion Tamarin, Red-shanked douc and Lesula.
Monkeys are separated into two categories: New World Monkeys and Old World Monkeys.
Old World Monkeys live in Asia and Africa, don’t have prehensile (capable of grasping) tails but do have special pouches in their cheeks to store food. They also have small, curved nostrils and rump or sitting pads on their backend.
New World Monkeys live in the Americas and have prehensile tails that they use to swing through the trees, Tarzan-style as well as have round, set-apart nostrils.
Spider Monkeys’ physical traits have a lot to do with how they were named.
Their long tails and long spidery limbs resemble spider legs.
If need be, these monkeys can stand and walk on two legs across a tree branch.
Monkeys come in all sizes.
The largest monkey is the male Mandrill, which stands about 3.3-feet tall and weighs around 77 pounds. The world’s smallest monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset, which is about 5-inches tall and weighs approximately 4 ounces.
Though they may be small, they’re amazing jumpers and can leap 15 feet into the air.
World Monkey Day is Dec. 14.
This unofficial holiday was created to celebrate monkeys and all things simian, including lemurs, tarsiers, apes and other non-human predators.
On this day, people are encouraged to visit a zoo, dress like a monkey or donate to a primate rescue sanctuary.
Albert ll was the first monkey in space.
He lifted off in June 1949 and was the first primate to reach an altitude of 83 miles.
Unfortunately, while he survived the launch, he didn’t make it back home after a malfunction with the parachute, and his capsule crash-landed.
South American Titi Monkeys mate for life.
Titi monkeys show affection for their mates by grooming them, holding hands and tails, cuddling and smacking their lips as if they were kissing.
Capuchin Monkeys can work with tools.
For example, if they need to break open a nut, they’ll use a rock.
To get at some food stuck in a tiny space, they’ll use a branch or a twig, and if they want to render a snake helpless, they’ll club them with a large branch.
Trees are many monkeys’ favorite bedtime spots.
Monkeys sleep balanced on a branch, sitting upright and resting on their backside as if the tree was an easy chair.
By sleeping high up in a tree, monkeys are kept safe from predators and insects.
Cotton-Top Tamarins enjoy room service.
Rather than jumping down from their treehouse and risking a run-in with a predator to get their daily water, these monkeys will suck the moisture and dew off the leaves of the tree they live in.
Humans didn’t just evolve from apes.
If a monkey took a DNA test, they’d find that they share a common ancestor with humans.
Sometime, between 20 and 30 million years ago, an evolutionary split happened.
Monkeys keep the same hours as most humans.
Most monkeys are diurnal, which means they’re more active and energetic during the day and sleep at night.
The only known nocturnal monkey is the Night or Owl monkey in South America.
Some monkeys swim.
Monkeys have an advantage when it comes to swimming, as they have webbed toes.
If a monkey wants to avoid predators or get some tasty food, it’ll swim across a stream with no problem.
Flying Squirrels make Japanese Macaques freak out.
Reasons why Japanese Macaques go nuts at Flying Squirrels could be because they mistake them for predatory birds, or the Japanese Macaques may be just showing off for a potential mate.
Some monkeys are as smart as preschoolers.
Their intelligence level is the same as a 3-year-old child.
Monkeys can understand abstract properties, and they’re able to solve puzzles.
Monkeys have temper tantrums.
Monkeys have a reputation for throwing things all the time, but the truth is they only throw things when they’re feeling stressed or agitated.
If they can’t find a rock or stick to hurl, they’ll use their own poop.
Monkeys live a long time.
Mandrill Monkeys live approximately 20 years, which is pretty average for most monkeys.
But the Guinea Baboon can live for a whooping 35 to 45 years.
Monkeys don’t eat bananas for every meal.
They’re omnivores and eat plant-based foods as well as meat. Their diet consists of nuts, fruits, seeds, flowers, bird’s eggs, lizards and insects.
Bananas morning, noon and night would get boring fast.
Monkeys are nomadic.
Most monkeys live in trees, though some make their home in grasslands, forests, mountains and high plains — but never for long.
Monkeys like to keep moving from one location to the next in search of food.
A barrel can be used to describe several monkeys.
However, most people prefer to call a group of monkeys missions, tribes, troops or cartloads.
But saying “a mission of monkeys” doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
Monkeys are communal.
A troop of monkeys will work together to take care of and protect the young in the group.
But togetherness isn’t strictly for raising the young; monkeys also enjoy playing and cuddling together.
Monkeys have their own smooth moves.
If a Capuchin monkey wants to attract a female partner, the male will pee into his hands and rub it through his fur as if they were applying a styling product.
The largest and strongest male monkey is usually the leader.
Many monkeys practice polygyny or the pattern of mating in which the male animal has more than one mate.
In most cases, it will be the leader who’ll mate with multiple females.
Female monkeys have special maternal instincts.
Female monkeys know when to conserve resources and not add another mouth to feed. If there’s a lack of food, the female monkey will stop mating until circumstances are better for getting pregnant.
Also, even when everything is bountiful, a female monkey will only have a baby monkey once every two years.
The cold never bothered the Japanese Macaque.
These monkeys can live in more than 3 feet of snow and temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that’s frozen.
A Mandrill monkey doesn’t hide their emotions well.
If a Mandrill gets excited, the bright blue and red colors on their face get deeper and more radiant.
If their emotions are that transparent, they probably shouldn’t play poker.
Howler Monkeys are extremely loud.
You’ll need earplugs if you live close to a troop of howler monkeys. When they yell, they can be heard up to 3 miles away.
Now, you know how they got their name.
Monkeys have their own ways of showing aggression.
It’s easy to misinterpret a monkey’s signs of aggression.
Instead of growling or balling their fists, monkeys show aggression by grinning, pulling their lips, yawning, head-bobbing and jerking their head and shoulders forward.
Proboscis monkeys are picky about the fruit they eat.
These monkeys can only consume unripe fruit, and this preference happens to be a matter of life and death.
The sugars in fruit ferment and fermentation can cause bloating in the proboscis monkey’s stomach and kill them.
Monkeys know some basic math.
They can understand written numbers, count, do basic arithmetic, and a few genius monkeys can do multiplication.
The fastest primate is the Patas monkey.
Don’t steal their food and think you can outrun them.
Patas monkeys can reach speeds of 34 miles per hour and easily overtake you.
Monkeys need to be kept entertained.
Monkeys are curious creatures, and if they get bored, they tend to act out in destructive ways.
In order to avoid a violent altercation, keep monkeys engaged.
Monkeys are one of the signs in the Chinese zodiac.
People born in the Year of the Monkey have magnetic personalities, are witty, intelligent, mischievous, curious and clever — just like the animals themselves.
The Mandrill monkey’s fangs are scary.
The Mandrill’s fangs are 2-inches long and super sharp, and they’ll use them as weapons to defend themselves.
When they bear their teeth, many predators think twice about attacking them.
Monkeys use the barter system.
On Yakushima Island in Japan, monkeys groom and share food with local deer to catch a ride on them.
Whether the ride is for fun or because the monkey needs to get to an appointment is unknown.