Fun Colobus Monkey Facts For Kids | Kidadl

Fun Colobus Monkey Facts For Kids

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Have you ever seen monkeys without thumbs? Isn't it interesting, mainly because they are arboreal animals and still adept at climbing trees? Read about the beautiful, bashful primates, the Colobus African monkey, found mostly in dense forests. Being primates, they are genetically similar to humans. They are called Colobus, meaning mutilated as they do not have thumbs. The Monkey Colobus is an old-world monkey, as it belongs to order primates, family Cercopithecidae. Phylogenetically, they are more associated with apes than New World monkeys.

The black and white Colobus have beautiful black color fur contrasting with the long white mantle, beard round the face, whiskers, and bushy tail. The Eastern black and white are different by a U-shaped cape of white hair starting from the shoulders to the lower back. The Colobus monkeys are highly territorial and forests are their natural habitat. They are social and move in groups. Each troop size may be 8-15. The all-mothering and greeting rituals are their behavioral patterns. Read on to learn about black and white Colobus monkey facts.

Read more about more smart mammals from our recent articles on the woolly monkey and patas monkey too.

Fun Colobus Monkey Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Leaves, fruits, flowers, lichen, plant-related vegetation, bark

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

11-30 lb

How long are they?

Up to 30 in

How tall are they?

Up to 28 in

What do they look like?

Black-white, red, olive

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Eagles, Chimpanzees, Leopards

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Forests, Zoos, Wooded Grasslands


Equatorial Forests Of Africa









Colobus Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a colobus monkey?

The Colobus guereza is a long-tailed, tree-dwelling monkey native to eastern, central, and western Africa.

What class of animal does a colobus monkey belong to?

The Colobus monkey is a mammal giving birth to an offspring every 20 months. There are about dozen species in this class. The Guereza (Colobus guereza), also known as Mantled guereza, Eastern black-and-white Colobus, is a black and White guereza.

How many colobus monkeys are there in the world?

There is no data about the count of Colobus monkeys. But a similar species, the black Colobus monkey, is around 50,000 in number in the Gabon area.

Where does a colobus monkey live?

The Colobus monkey habitat consists of grasslands of Central Africa. Low land, montane, gallery forests close to coasts, and East African beaches are their favorite places. Africa hosts most of the monkey Colobus species, in places like Kenya.

What is a colobus monkey's habitat?

Colobus monkeys live in a biome of equatorial forests, preferably dense forests. They are often found in secondary or degraded forests or along river basins. Highly arboreal, they prefer to stay on trees and rarely come down to the ground. They use the branches for vaulting, jumping up and down for leaps of up to 50 ft using their tails. The mantel hair is used as a parachute. Their territories are about 40 acres and generally with no conflicts. Conflict, if any, can be very noisy with fights. But some groups share resources like water bodies.

Who do colobus monkeys live with?

The Black and white Colobus monkey is very social and lives in troops of 8-15 with one dominant male and several females (about eight). Their troop size is ideal for protecting themselves, and no competition for food and getting along well with each other. The females are not very aggressive, and the all-mothering trait is visible. It means that the females other than the biological mother in the group also take care of the young ones. The juveniles are considered lower rung and start becoming independent as they mature around two years of age. They either live alone or with other juveniles in bachelor groups.

How long does a colobus monkey live?

Colobus monkeys live anywhere from 15-20 years in wildlife. Under captivation and proper care, they can live up to 25-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

Reproduction of Colobus monkeys happens all round the year. Guerezas have a polygynous mating system. The male is ready at the age of six years and the female at four years for mating. The female monkey signals that she is ready to mate by smacking its tongue. She remains prone during copulation. The mother gives birth to a single infant after a gestation period of six months. The babies are pure white, and black hair appears only after many weeks. The black and white colobus monkey baby clings to the mother or father's stomach, weighing less than a pound and is about eight inches in length. The baby becomes independent after about 20 weeks and has the entire group's attention until then.

What is their conservation status?

Black and white Colobus monkeys are considered abundantly present in eastern Africa hence they fall under the category Least Concern. But their population is declining steadily. Colobus monkey fur is in high demand. Hunting for their meat and fur, deforestation by humans for more agricultural land are the main threats to their existence. The fur of the red Colobus monkey is more in demand, a further cause of this population conservation becoming endangered. The best way to save the species is to ban hunting and protecting forests and grasslands.

Colobus Monkey Fun Facts

What do colobus monkeys look like?

The Colobus monkey skull is prognathous, with its articulator projecting beyond the upper. The Colobus species has a U-shaped mantle of long white fur that runs all the way from its shoulders to the back. White fur surrounds their face with a long white tail. The face does not have fur, though. Colobus monkey teeth have pointed cusps. They are the sole old-World monkey to possess a reduced thumb. The Colobus monkey tail is uniform in color from tip to base with an outsized white tuft at the end.

Here are the enchanting Colobus monkey and more details about it.

How cute are they?

Colobus monkeys look cute with rich black, white, red colors. They are lesser-known wildlife African beauties! The young ones cling to the parent's stomach giving a cute look.

How do they communicate?

At dawn and dusk, the dominant male makes loud roars, to define their territorial boundaries and establish its dominance. The other males echo these roars. They talk to each other with snorts, screams, purrs, tongue clicking, and caws. Males are more vocal, in general.

How big is a colobus monkey?

Colobus monkeys have a length of 18-30 in, not including the tail length. They can be half the size of a gorilla.

How fast can a colobus monkey move?

Though the speed of this monkey is not explicitly known, it moves fast when endangered to protect itself. They are designated semibrachiators, which means that they mainly move quadrupedally, galloping, rather than walking, jump across gaps, and occasionally swing by their arms. This is their way of locomotion.

How much does a colobus monkey weigh?

They weigh anywhere between 12-30 lb. The male is slightly larger than the female.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The Colobus monkey scientific name is Simia polycomos. We can simply term them as the female monkeys and male monkeys respectively as they don't have specific names for the gender.

What would you call a baby colobus monkey?

The young ones are called baby Colobus monkeys or infants. They are born after six months of gestation. Until they become independent, the parents carry them for a few weeks.

What do they eat?

The Colobus monkey diet consists of leaves, fruits, bark, and flowers found in the wildlife forest. They catch their food by foraging in the forest and collecting the leaves and fruits. Their four-chambered stomach is specially designed to digest the vegetarian diet, including complex cellulose and toxic foliage, with a microbial gut and enough resting time in their lifestyle.

Are they aggressive?

They generally have a chilled-out lifestyle with no hurry to move about much. However, males are aggressive and dominant and take the responsibility of protecting their territory and group. The female is not aggressive and is responsible for taking care of the young ones.

Would they make a good pet?

Colobus monkeys are wildlife animals staying in the forest with dense trees and live in groups. The zoo is also their habitat, but they are not domestic pets. Some zoos provide an adoption facility where the monkey stays in the zoo, and the sponsor pays for the monkey's caretaking, medicines, and other needs. They get a picture of the sponsored Colobus, a free entry into the zoo to visit it, and regular updates about the adopted animal. This is an initiative for the conservation of this species.

Did you know...

Chimpanzees hunt Colobus monkeys and kill at least three of them in a single hunt. They are especially interested in the red Colobus for its meat diet and leaves. It is shocking to know that in the forests of Uganda's Kibale National Park, they reached a point of extinction because of chimpanzee hunting!

One species within Colobus, Mantled guereza, is reported to eat concrete! They have been eating buildings in the national parks of Africa!

Why do colobus monkeys have long hair?

The long hair of Colobus monkeys acts as a parachute to cushion their long jumps from branch to branch in the forest. It helps while landing.

What makes colobus monkeys unique?

The unique feature of colobus monkeys is that they do not have thumbs.

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 Proboscis monkeys, or capuchin monkeys.

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

Written By
Kidadl Team

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