Fun Red Colobus Monkey Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 17, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Interesting red colobus monkey facts that will make your day.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.2 Min

These beautiful monkeys are medium-sized, and their fur has a wide range of varieties. They are mostly arboreal and are rarely seen on the forest grounds. They are herbivores, with leaves making up most of their diet. Other than that, they also feed on seeds and unripe fruits. They have a sensitive and slow digestive system, which is why they eat unripe fruits as their system is unable to deal with the sucrose that develops in ripened fruits. This is why they also intake sources of charcoal to rid their digestive system of the toxins present in the leaves. Interestingly, this makes them one of the laziest monkeys among the African wildlife. Unfortunately, their populations have been decreasing rapidly due to the destruction of the forests for urbanization by humans because of urbanization. However, due to their critically endangered status, a lot of them are being rehabilitated in national park zones in sensitive areas.

If you like reading about fun animal facts, please check out our proboscis monkey facts and squirrel monkey facts for more.

Red Colobus Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red colobus monkey?

Red colobus monkeys are a species of old-world monkeys found around the eastern, western, and central parts of Africa. They mostly spend their time on the trees in the moist forests which is their preferred home, but the Zanzibar red colobus monkey is known to inhabit scrubby shrublands as well as coastal thickets.

What class of animal does a red colobus monkey belong to?

Like all primate species, the colobus species of monkeys, whether they are the Zanzibar red colobus monkey or the black and white colobus monkey are mammals. This means that they do not lay eggs rather give birth to live young. Unfortunately, they are one of the most endangered primate species in Africa due to human-caused habitat destruction.

How many red colobus monkey are there in the world?

It is hard to say just how many of these primates are left in the world, but, as they are one of the most threatened species of primates in all of Africa, due to the destruction of forests, it could be assumed that there are not many of them left in the wild. Infants of the red colobus monkeys are often preyed on heavily by common chimpanzees.

Where does a red colobus monkey live?

Red colobus monkeys are found throughout the eastern, western, and central parts of Africa. However, the Zanzibar red colobus monkey is endemic to the Zanzibar archipelago, off the coastal area of Tanzania. However, because, they are one of the most threatened creatures of Africa, some of them are being protected in a few wildlife national park areas in those ranges.

What is a red colobus monkey's habitat?

This species of colobus monkeys are known for spending most of their time upon the trees. As for habitat, they prefer mangrove swaps, scrubby shrublands, secondary forest areas, moist forests, coastal thickets, as well as farmlands.

Who do red colobus monkey live with?

Red colobus monkeys like the mountain gorilla and baboons usually live in groups consisting of four adult males and many adult females. The number of individuals in a group can vary anywhere from 30-50, and they are known for feeding as a group and participating in grooming between meals.

How long does a red colobus monkey live?

It is hard to conclude the average lifespan of the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, the main reason for that is they have never been successfully held in captivity, as a result, experts have been unable to conduct these studies on this species.

How do they reproduce?

There is no specific breeding season for the Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, they have been known to mate throughout the year. However, births usually occur during the monsoon season. They are not monogamous, both females and males are known for mating with several partners. The gestation period is about five to six months long, after which, usually a single young is born. However, there have been reports of twin births as well. Zanzibar red colobus monkeys reach complete sexual maturity at about five years of age, but, the young start to leave their natal group at about three to four years to start participating in sexual behavior with members of a different group and form their own group.

What is their conservation status?

The species Piliocolobus kirkii is the most endangered species of primates found in Africa. The main reason for that can be attributed to human-caused habitat loss. Red colobus monkeys are highly attuned to their surroundings, as result, their population has lessened a lot due to the destruction of their preferred home range. Unfortunately, the population of more than 18 species of these monkeys is listed as endangered and critically endangered in the IUCN red list. However, as their population is considered to be seriously threatened a lot of individuals are being protected in a few wildlife national park areas.

Red Colobus Monkey Fun Facts

What do red colobus monkey look like?

Amazing red colobus monkey facts that will cheer you up.

These monkeys are medium-sized, and their fur ranges from black to darkish red. From the middle to the lower part of their back the coat is usually a reddish-brown. Their faces are black as are the hands and feet and usually surrounded by longish white hair. The underside of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey is usually pale greyish and their lips and nose are pink. On some individuals, a dark-colored or black stripe can be noticed on their shoulders and arms. Both male and female young of these African monkeys are usually charcoal greys, black and white. They start developing the reddish-brown coat at about three to five months and reach complete adult coloration at about 6-11 months. All red colobus monkeys from the forest range of Africa have a stumped, short thumb, however, they tend to have long fingers that help them grab onto branches as their tail is not prehensile.

How cute are they?

These African forest monkeys, Red colobus, are very cute with their reddish-brown coat running throughout their body, and black faces surrounded by long white fur. They live in almost 30-50 individuals' troops and even hunt for food as a group. Interestingly, as their main food source consists of leaves they tend to intake the toxins found in those leaves as well. This is why they sometimes eat charcoal to get rid of the toxins from the leaves, as a result, they have developed a very slow digestive system, which is why Red colobuses are one of the most sluggish populations of forest creatures among the wildlife found in African forests.

How do they communicate?

Like most monkeys, they communicate mostly through vocalizations and body language. They use long hoots, and barks to communicate potential threats to the members of their groups. They use body gestures like slapping, or playful fighting as well as grooming with members of their groups.

How big is a red colobus monkey?

Even though there are noticeable differences in their cranial size, on average, both male and female populations of these tree-loving creatures range between 17.7-25.5 in (45-65 cm) in head-body length. The average length of the tail of these wild creatures is 23-30.3 in (58-77 cm), although, they can not really use it to hang from trees in the forests. Another interesting fact about the red colobus, Procolobus was the genus they were previously thought to be a part of. However, that is now limited to the Olive colobuses who are the smallest of all monkeys living in Africa and are only about 3.5-17 in (8.8-43.2 cm).

How fast can a red colobus monkey jump?

It is hard to say just how fast the kirkii monkeys can jump, however, they have long limbs, which helps them to jump from one tree to another quite quickly. Interestingly, they are also the most sluggish of all monkeys among the wildlife of Africa.

How much does a red colobus monkey weigh?

These tree-loving animals are medium-sized, and they do not weigh that much. Male and female populations both weigh somewhere between 11.5-24.9 lb (5.2-11.3 kg). Members of the same groups can always be found together grooming each other or participating in playful activities between food breaks.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Like most species of primates like the howler monkey, Colobus monkeys do not have sex-specific terms for males and females. Males are just known as male Colobus monkeys and females are known as female colobus monkeys. There is noticeable sexual dimorphism found in their cranial and canine size, with the males having stronger cranium and longer canines than females. Their tails are also thicker than the female members.

What would you call a baby red colobus monkey?

The babies of this wild African primate species are called young or offspring like all forest monkeys found around the world. Usually one young is born after a gestation period of five to six months, however, twins have been reported to be born on occasion as well. The babies of Western red colobus monkeys are often preyed upon by common Chimpanzees.

What do they eat?

Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, like all species of Red colobuses, are herbivores. Young leaves take up most of their diet, with seeds and unripe fruit making up the rest of their diet. The reason for that is their digestive system is quite sensitive and they can not digest the sucrose formed in the ripe fruits. Zanzibar red colobus monkey sometimes includes charcoal in their diet to rid their digestive systems of the toxins present in the leaves, which, we must say is pretty unique. This behavior makes them the slowest red colobus monkeys out of all the species found around the forest range of Africa.

How active are they?

These animals are diurnal and troops spend most of their time upon a tree, they are actually, one of the most sluggish creatures found around the Zanzibar archipelago, off the coastal area of Tanzania. The reason for this is that their food habits made them develop a very slow digestive system, and to prevent upsetting their system, they can not move around too much.

Would they make a good pet?

Primate species in general, do not make good pets, and the kirkii monkeys are no different. The main reason is that they are used to living in troops consisting of many members, and they do not deal well if separated from them. They are also quite messy and make the kind of mess that you would not like in your house. So, no keeping these animals as pets is not really recommended.

Did you know...

When the young start leaving their natal troops to form their own group, they sometimes join troops of other monkey species living in close proximity to a troop of red colobus monkeys to spy on them quietly and safely.

What are the black and white monkeys called?

They are called the Black and White colobus monkeys. Like the Red colobus, they are also known to be old-world monkeys and are found around Africa. Their genus's name is Colobus.

Is red colobus monkey endemic?

The Zanzibar red colobus is endemic to the forests of Tanzania. Unfortunately, red colobus monkeys are one of the most threatened populations of Africa due to habitat destruction by humans, but, thankfully, due to their endangered status, a lot of conservation groups have been working to keep them from going extinct.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these harbour porpoise facts and plains zebra facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable red colobus monkey coloring pages.

Red Colobus Monkey Facts

What Did They Prey On?


What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

11.5-24.9 lb (5.2-11.3 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

moist forests, mangrove swamps, scrubby shrublands, coastal thickets

Where Do They Live?

eastern, western, and central africa

How Long Were They?

17.7-25.5 in (45-65 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Piliocolobus kirkii, Procolobus kirkii

What Do They Look Like?

Reddish-brown, grey, black

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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