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The Patas Monkey: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Patas monkey facts about some of the most sociable primates around

Are you interested in running? Are you an athlete, or training to be one? If so, then the patas monkeys are just the primate for you. Not only are they the fastest monkeys in the entire world, but they also run only on their fingertips and never actually use their entire foot to run. The patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) is found only in parts of Africa, and its unique climate and living circumstances have given rise to its strong legs that have given it its famous speed! If you are looking for more interesting facts about patas monkey, then read on. If you enjoy reading about this creature, then do check out the Pygmy Slow Loris and squirrel monkeys too!

Patas Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a patas monkey?

The patas monkey, scientifically called the Erythrocebus patas, is a type of monkey.

What class of animal does a patas monkey belong to?

Like all other monkeys, the patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) are mammals.

How many patas monkeys are there in the world?

Due to insufficient research into their population, there is no estimate for how many patas monkeys are there around the world. However, an interesting statistic reveals that there is on average one patas monkey for every 1.5 km of the area where a group lives.

Where does a patas monkey live?

The patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) is usually found in open woodlands and the savanna.

What is a patas monkey's habitat?

The Erythrocebus patas, or the patas monkey, is found in Africa only. It is found in central Africa, and in the west and south-east Africa. It lives in semi-arid to dry locations, needing empty spaces to run away from predators. They do not rely on woodlands and trees to keep them safe but on their strong legs and unmatched speed to outrun most predators. Since they do not need the woods, they are occasionally found on human plantations and farms too.

Who do patas monkeys live with?

Patas monkeys are not territorial at all and live in large packs. These packs have a single, dominant male, with multiple females in the group. A female leads the pack, and the single male is usually on the periphery. The male acts as a decoy leading away predators whenever there is danger, allowing the females to escape with the children. He does this with a moderately loud call to warn the others and then attracting attention to himself, after which he runs away.

How long does a patas monkey live?

The patas monkeys have a relatively long life span as opposed to other smaller species of primates. Their life span can be from 12-20 years old. Other relatives such as the vervet monkey do not live as long which makes this species all the more interesting!

How do they reproduce?

Like all other mammals, the patas monkeys reproduce by mating. The adult male patas monkey reaches their sexual maturity at just four years old, which is younger than other primates. The females do so when they are around three years old, and can have only one baby at a time.

What is their conservation status?

There was a time when they were nearing endangerment, but thanks to conservation efforts, the patas monkeys have now been classified as Least Concern. Since they mostly live in open areas, deforestation has not threatened patas monkeys as much as it has other species.

Patas Monkey Fun Facts

What do patas monkeys look like?

The patas monkeys are long-limbed, lithe monkeys. They have a reddish, almost rust-colored overcoat, which fades to shades of white and gray as it moves towards their underbelly. They have excess facial hair on their faces, making it look like they have a thick white mustache.

The patas monkey was nearing endangerment but now has a Least Concern conservation status.

How cute are they?

With its red overcoat, gray-white undercoat, white mustache, and hypertrophied head, the patas monkey looks like a grumpy old man! So while they may be funny to look at, they are not very cute animals. In fact, humans spook them, so they may not even stay long enough for you to decide if they are cute in person or not.

How do they communicate?

One of the major reasons the patas monkeys communicate is to warn those around them of danger. For this, they use a very discreet 'cough' alarm. For all other purposes, they usually grunt, call, or hum. This is especially useful during mating seasons.

How big is a patas monkey?

Patas monkeys can be around 19-34 in. This is not including their tail sizes, which vary a lot depending on the age, size, and sex of the monkey. Sexual dimorphism also plays a huge role in the size of patas monkeys.  This makes them 0.3 times as small as the Mandrills, which are up to 40 in big, and are the biggest monkey known to man.

How fast can a patas monkey run?

The patas monkey is the fastest primate in the world. They can reach a top speed of 35 mph or 56 kmph. A patas monkey running would be faster than the average speed at which we drive a car!

How much does a patas monkey weigh?

There is a large difference between how much the males and the females of the species weigh. The males are much heavier with weights up to 12.6 kg, whereas the females clock in less than half at around 4.7 kg. This variation between the males and the females of the species is called sexual dimorphism.  

What are their male and female names of the species?

The males and females of the species do not have any separate names. We call them all the patas monkey. But instead of sex-specific names, the patas monkeys have several other names, such as the Wadi Monkey.

What would you call a baby patas monkey?

You would call a baby patas monkey adorable! Jokes apart, there is no specific name you can call the babies of the patas monkeys, so feel free to get creative with the nicknames.

What do they eat?

The patas monkeys are not picky eaters. They eat food like insects, tubers, fruits, select flowers, and a lot more. It's what keeps patas monkeys fueled up to be the fastest primate in the world.

Are they loud?

They can be, but the patas monkeys as a species undergo a lot of effort to make sure they are not too loud. They communicate mostly for mating and to deliver a loud warning in case of danger, so while they can be loud, they prefer to be discreet. This is because when you are the fastest primate in the world, you also have to be quiet so you don't get caught.

Would they make a good pet?

There have been no known cases of the patas monkeys as a pet. This is a pretty good indication that this species would not make good pets. They are not cute, useful, exotic, or meant to be in captivity. Besides, they also have a very strong support system and are extremely difficult to catch due to their speed. So why not skip the patas monkey pet, and look at the more conventional options instead?

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Did you know that patas monkeys have several other names too. They are also called the Military Monkey (because a lot of military organizations have this monkey as their mascot), Hussar Monkey, the Dancing Red Monkey (because they dance when excited),  the Red Guenon  (because of their relationship with other Guenon species) and even the Wadi Monkey. Talk about having multiple nicknames!

What is so unique about the patas monkey?

How did the patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) get the highest speed per hour out of all the monkeys? The answer is in their limbs. They have short digits, but very long limbs, which allow them to move fast.  There is a lot of difference in the patas monkey skull too. The males have hypertrophied skulls as opposed to the females which means that they have larger skulls because of accelerated growth. The males also have a protrusion in their skull for the same reason.  

Patas monkey mating seasons

The patas monkey breeding season is very unique for several reasons. One, the breeding season happens annually, with a gestation period of approximately six months. The group is usually one male patas with several female patas monkeys. However, during mating season, many females mate with many males and are promiscuous in general. The mating season starts in December and ends around March, and after a gestation period, a baby patas monkey is born.  

The babies are weaned off in two to three years.  The males achieve sexual maturity at four years, whereas the females reach it sooner at 3.5 years. The males then leave the group to either stay alone or are with a group of other males. The end aim is to seek a harem where he can be the dominant male. The female, on the other hand, stays with her natal group. This is why some groups of patas monkeys are as big as 76 members!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including vervet monkey, or New World monkeys.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Pastas Monkey coloring pages.

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