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Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Facts

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The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti), also called the black snub-nosed monkey or black and white snub-nosed monkey, of the primates order can only be found in Yunnan, a southern Chinese Province. The locals also call this primate the Yunnan golden hair monkey. Due to the lack of nasal bones in these monkeys, they are called 'snub-nosed'. You can find groups of this primate in deciduous and coniferous forests around the Yunnan mountainous regions. These primates have a wide habitat range as they travel in warmer months. Their adaptations help them to survive in high altitudes. They depend on huge amounts of lichens in their habitats. They are currently endangered and under threat in their habitat.

Black and white snub-nosed monkeys belong to the Rhinopithecus genus. This group is not fully studied and hence is a rare group. There are five recognized species within this genus. This genus is classified under the Cercopithecidae family, which is an Old World group of monkeys. There are a total of 138 species recognized as Old World monkeys. There are 24 genera within this family. Two subfamilies within this family are Colobinae and Cercopithecinae.

Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey?

The black snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus bieti) is a mammalian species of the Old World monkey family and Rhinopithecus genus. This primate species is diurnal, active during the daytime, and social. The group of monkeys only split during food shortages in different seasons. The group also travels together to new feeding and sleeping areas. This primate group not only travels with changing seasons but also travels every day. The group only spends a few hours at one place before moving to sleep or forage. The Yunnan snub-nosed monkey usually sleeps in tall trees on steep slopes that have enough sun exposure and are away from the wind. The female usually sleeps together with juveniles and infants, while the male sleeps alone.

What class of animal does a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey belong to?

Black snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) are primates of the class Mammalia within the higher primates (Simiiformes) infraorder and the suborder Haplorhini.

How many Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are there in the world?

In 2006, the population range of black snub-nosed monkeys was reported below 2,000 individuals and mature individuals were below 1,000. Their population has increased from 1,000-1,500 individuals by 1996 to 3,000 individuals in 2016, as of 2021. The current estimation is 23 groups with over 3,300 individuals in China.

Where does a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey live?

The black snub-nosed monkey's range of habitat extends across Tibet and southwest China. These monkeys are endemic species of the Hengduan Mountains. They occupy Nujiang Langcang Gorge alpine conifer and mixed forests in the Yun Range, China.

What is a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey's habitat?

Rhinopithecus bieti, or Yunnan snub-nosed monkey's, home range includes deciduous forests, mountain forests, and mixed coniferous or coniferous broad-leaved forests. This home range extends 6-15.4 sq mi (16-40 sq km). They usually occupy tall trees.

Who do Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys live with?

These primates live in huge groups with almost 480 individuals forming between 11-26 units of 3-17 monkeys. These units consist primarily of one male, with a few all-male units. It is rare for these monkeys to form multi-female and multi-male units, and the maximum number of adult males is only two. Units with one adult male can get aggressive while defending their partners.

These units split at the time of the birthing season. Subgrouping and splitting of units help them exploit food resources. Also, if the group does not find a favorable sleeping area near their food resources, monkeys are ready to travel for better sleeping areas.

How long does a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey live?

The lifespan of black snub-nosed monkeys in captivity or the wild is not yet known. However, their relatives, golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) have lived up to 23 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Black snub-nosed monkeys stay and travel in units and they are usually peaceful. Adult males reach maturity at around five to seven years and adult females at around five years. Females use prostration in the breeding season, where they lie on the ground, constantly glancing at males. Sometimes, females jump to get the attention of males. Males and females mate year-round and the peak breeding season is from August to September. The gestation period in females in captivity is around 195-204 days, and in the wild, it is six to seven months. Females mostly give birth at night.

As per research, adult females are known to fight each other in one-male units to mate with adult male. It also showed the mating success for females in large bands is low. The birthing season begins around March, ending in April. Females give birth to one live offspring. Once the young are six years old, weaning starts. So, females weaning their young will not breed in that year. Mothers and other females in the group carry around the juveniles. Although infants can gather food by six months, they will be nursed until they are 14 months.

Lactating females also provide milk to the offspring of other females in the group, which is called allomaternal nursing. This case was observed when a juvenile entered a different unit from its own. The former unit was not inhospitable to this juvenile, in fact, the young one was transported by a prevalent male. This juvenile was nursed by a female and became a part of the new unit. Adult males also provide care to other infants in the unit, carrying them around in the seasons with a scarcity of food.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the black snub-nosed monkey is Endangered. A major threat to these species is activities conducted by humans, like hunting and logging. This also causes habitat loss. These species are also caught by snares that are meant for ungulates. So, the Chinese government has provided protected regions for these species, Yunnan's Baimaxueshan National Nature Reserve and Tibet's Hongla Xue Shan Mountain National Nature Reserve

These species still face challenges throughout their habitat like high elevation winters, finding proper food resources in cold months, hypoxia, and hypothermia.

Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkey Fun Facts

What does Yunnan snub-nosed monkey look like?

Black snub-nosed monkeys are one of the largest species of subfamily Colobinae. Of all the snub-nosed monkey species, Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are the ones with the most sexual dimorphism, with males being 50% bigger than females. These species have concaved noses and thick lips similar to the other snub-nosed species. Adult male monkeys have distinctive dark hair on their crowns, which droops forward and form a crest around 3.8-4.7 in (97-120 mm) in length. The face is white with pink lips and a black nose. They have black lower legs, backs, and arms, and their elbows have white tufts. Their cheeks have white-gray fur running down their ventral sides through their necks, abdomens, and thighs.

The adult female and juvenile monkeys have shorter fur on their thighs, crowns, and backs, which are less black compared to adult male monkeys. Initially, juveniles are yellow and white before turning light black.

Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are found at the highest altitudes of any officially recognized non-human primate.

How cute are they?

Many consider black snub-nosed monkeys to be very cute.

How do they communicate?

Black snub-nosed monkeys communicate through gestures and eye contact as they are usually quiet. During fights and conflicts, males have a loud bra, displaying their canine teeth. Adults use loud alarm calls if they come across predators.

How big is a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey?

Black snub-nosed monkeys have a body and head lengths around 29-32.6 in (740-830 mm). Their tail length is around 20-28.3 in (510-720 mm).

How fast can a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey jump?

The exact jumping speed of these species is not yet known.

How much does a Yunnan snub-nosed monkey weigh?

Male Yunnan snub-nosed monkey weighs around 33-37.4 lb (15-17 kg) and females are about 14.3-22 lb (6.3-10 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to either the male or female Yunnan snub-nosed monkey.

What would you call a baby Yunnan snub-nosed monkey?

There is no specific name given to the baby Yunnan snub-nosed monkey. A baby monkey is referred to as an infant or juvenile.

What do they eat?

Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are herbivores, feeding mainly on lichens found in their natural habitat. Lichen is their food source during winter, they eat fruit during summer and fall, and in spring, they depend on the leaves of flowering trees. During winter, when there's a scarcity of fruits and leaves from flowering trees, lichen becomes the fallback food. These species are generally arboreal, however, have also been observed feeding on bird eggs, rodents, tubers, and digging up mushrooms.

How active are they?

These species are quite active, as they are ready to move long distances to find better sleeping or foraging areas.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these monkeys would not make great pets. They do very well around tall trees situated on steep slopes and constantly moving to different regions. There have been, however, snub-nosed monkeys rescued and kept in captivity.

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...

You can find Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys at altitudes of around 15,419 ft (4,700 m).

Today, Old World monkeys are native species of Asia and Africa. In the past, Old-World monkeys were found around Europe.

A mutation in the genomic DNA sequence of these primates has helped them survive the extreme conditions in their native habitats, allowing them to resist hypoxia or oxygen deprivation.

Predators of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are only birds, like buzzards and eagles, using the circle-and-wait strategy.

Why do snub-nosed monkeys have no nose? 

The exact scientific reason behind snub-nosed monkeys' facial features and noses is not known.

When was the snub-nosed monkey discovered?

The Rhinopithecus genus was coined in 1872 by Henri Milne-Edwards. However, until the '90s, Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys were not known to the world. These monkeys have an enigmatic status because they are not held in captivity anywhere else in the world other than China.

*We've been unable to source an image of a black snub-nosed monkey and have used an image of a golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) instead. If you can provide us with a royalty-free image of a black snub-nosed monkey, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

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