What Do Monkeys Eat?

What do monkeys eat?
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What Do Monkeys Eat? Monkeys live in various parts of the world, and they come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. The smallest monkey species is the pygmy marmoset, which grows to a length of about 5 inches.

The most abundant monkey species is the mandrill, which can grow to about 3 feet tall and weigh about 35 kgs. Often thought to eat only bananas, monkeys are omnivores. So, monkeys obtain nutrients from both plants and animals.

Table of Contents

What do Monkeys Eat?

Type of Monkey Scientific Name Diet
Mandrill Mandrillus sphinx Fruits, seeds, leaves, stems scorpions, termites, ants, spiders, birds, eggs, tortoises, and rodents.
Proboscis Monkey Nasalis larvatus Fruits, leaves, seeds, and insects.
Emperor Tamarin Saguinus imperator Flowers, fruits, saps, small birds, frogs, and insects.
Pygmy Marmoset Callithrix pygmaea Tree sap, nectar, and fruit.

Monkeys Diet by Types

Monkeys are divided into two groups; the Old World and New World monkeys. Old world monkeys are endemic to Asia, Europe, and Africa, while New World monkeys are found in the Americas.

These two types of monkeys vary when looking at their sizes, noses, tails, dental formula, vision, and sitting pads. This section will sample out examples from the two types of monkeys.

What Do Mandrills Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Cercopithecidae Mandrillus Mandrillus sphinx

What do Mandrills eat?

Mandrill is an omnivore. It dines on fruits, seeds, leaves, stems scorpions, termites, ants, spiders, small birds, eggs, tortoises, and rodents.

  • Mandrills are the largest monkey species.
  • Mandrills are found in wide distribution in Equatorial Africa.
  • Mandrills mostly inhabit rainforests in this region.

What Do Proboscis Monkeys Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Cercopithecidae Nasalis Nasalis larvatus

What do proboscis monkeys eat?

Proboscis monkey feeds on fruits, leaves, and seeds. It occasionally supplements its diet with insects.

  • The proboscis monkey is also referred to as the long-nosed monkey, and this is mainly because of their long noses, which can grow up to 10 cm.
  • These monkeys inhabit an array of coastal and riparian areas.

What Do Emperor Tamarins Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Callitrichidae Saguinus Saguinus imperator

What do emperor tamarins eat?

Emperor tamarins feed on a wide range of foods, which can be found in their local habitats. Their diet includes flowers, fruits, saps, small birds, frogs, and insects.

  • Emperor tamarins are notable for their long mustaches.
  • Emperor tamarins commonly inhabit tropical lowland forests where they prefer having their homes on the treetops.
Suggested Reading: Explore Layers of the Rainforest here.

What Do Pygmy Marmosets Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Callithrix pygmaea

What do pygmy marmosets eat?

Pygmy Marmosets eat tree sap, nectar, and fruit.

  • The pygmy marmoset, like its tamarin cousins, are among the very tiniest primates.
  • These orange-brown monkeys are so small they can barely fit in a human’s hand.
  • Pygmy Marmosets commonly inhabit rainforests.

How Do Monkeys Hunt?

Monkeys hunt for their food using unique strategies.

How do monkeys hunt?

  • One monkey species whose hunting tactics have been widely studied is the chimpanzee. Chimpanzees hunt without the use of tools.
  • Interestingly, reports have indicated the use of rocks and branches to facilitate the processing of carcasses.
  • When chimpanzees hunt, they chase a potential prey (mostly the red colobus monkeys), seize it, and then kill it before consuming.
Suggested Reading: What Do Gorillas Eat?

When Do Monkeys Eat?

Most monkey species are diurnal by nature. This means they will be found foraging for food and eating during daylight hours. Only the night monkey has been described to be nocturnal. So, they tend to be active and find food at night.

How Often Do Monkeys Eat?

How often monkeys eat depends on several factors, including the type of species.

  • For instance, the Saki monkeys can eat between 45-50 species of fruit daily. They use the five a day strategy within an hour of foraging.
  • Research done on spider monkeys revealed they consumed about 2.4 kilograms of food every day. As such, they will feed as often as they can to realize this daily food requirement.

What Eats Monkeys?

Many monkey species are smaller in size, and so they are vulnerable to predators larger in size compared to them.

What eats monkeys? Hyenas

  • Young monkeys that have wandered from their mothers are also vulnerable to predators. Some of the organisms that predate on monkeys that live within their location include some bird species such as eagles, hyenas, big cats such as tigers & jaguars, crocodiles, and alligators.
  • Other primates with the example of chimpanzees eat other monkey species like the red colobus monkeys.
  • Though controversial, humans in some parts of the world like Bolivia, Liberia, Cameroon, and Congo consider monkeys (bushmeat) to be a vital delicacy.

Where Do Monkeys Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Monkeys play an essential role in the animal food chain as prey and predators.

  • In their role as predators, monkeys feed on many organisms, including insects, bird eggs, lizards, and spiders. As such, they help regulate the local population of these animals in their ecosystem.
  • In their role as prey, monkeys provide an excellent source of nutrition to a vast range of creatures, including other monkeys, the big cats, and snakes. Because of this, they promote the survival of these organisms.

In general, the existence of monkeys ensures the presence of a healthy ecosystem. On the downside, the continued destruction of the habitats that monkeys live in will be detrimental to the ecosystem.

Cite this article as: "What Do Monkeys Eat?," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, November 9, 2017, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-monkeys-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “Monkeys: Facts, Types & Pictures | Live Science”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Mandrill – New England Primate Conservancy”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Primate Factsheets: Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Emperor Tamarin Fact Sheet – Adelaide Zoo”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Pygmy Marmoset | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Chimpanzee Hunting Behavior”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “The Primates: New World Monkeys”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Fruit-mad South American monkeys eat 50 varieties a day – BBC News”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Monkeys shed light on human eating patterns – Telegraph”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “BBC – Earth – Chimpanzees over-hunt monkey prey almost to extinction”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Amazon’s Tsimane People Who Eat Monkeys And Piranhas Have Healthiest Hearts In The World | Tech Times”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.
  • “African scientists warn that eating monkeys and apes could cause ‘the next HIV epidemic’ | Daily Mail Online”. Accessed November 08, 2019. Link.

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