Did You Know? 17 Incredible Monkey Facts

Monkey facts for kids are educational!

Monkeys are referred to as a group of simian mammals ranking above a superfamily and below the infraorder Simiiformes. Monkeys are a group of primates, including both the families of Old World and New World monkeys.

With regards to taxonomy, Old World monkey species from this family of primates are known as Cercopithecidae. With a total of 24 genera and 138 species, Old World monkeys are considered to be the biggest primate family. Old World monkeys include macaques, baboons, proboscis monkeys, surili, langurs, gelada, colobus, talapoins, patas, mandrills, mangabey, vervet, douc langurs, and guenon monkeys.

New World monkey species are somewhat different from Old World monkey species. These groups of monkeys can be easily differentiated by their noses. The noses of New World monkeys are flatter compared to the narrow noses of Old World monkeys with nostrils facing sideways. Old World monkeys have shorter and non-grasping tails, whereas New World monkey species have a prehensile tail, helping them in their daily activities.

The species of tamarins and marmosets are found living in the areas where New World monkeys are found but these two species have their own scientific group.

If you like these intriguing facts about monkeys, then you'll surely like these facts about the howler monkey and squirrel monkey too!


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, bird eggs, small animals

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.25-81.5 lb (0.11-37 kg)

How long are they?

5-37.4 in (12.7-96 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, brownish-gray, reddish-brown

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, leopards, eagles, jaguars, pythons

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Grassland, forest, tree, mountain, and high plain habitats


South and Central America, Asia, and Africa





Scientific Name

Cebuella pygmaea, Mandrillus sphinx, Papio papio


Callitrichidae, Cercopithecidae, Cebidae


Alouatta, Cebus, Sapajus, Cebuella

Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animals are monkeys?

Monkeys are divided into two different groups known as Old World and New World monkeys. New World monkeys belong to five families (Cebidae, Aotidae, Atelidae, Pitheciidae, and Callitrichidae) and are collectively addressed as Ceboidea. Old World monkeys belong to the family of Cercopithecidae, who are closely related to humans and apes.

What class of animals do monkeys belong to?

Monkeys belong to the mammal class of animals.

How many monkeys are there in the world?

There are about 200 species of monkeys across the globe, but there is no accurate data available on the total population of monkeys.

Where do monkeys live?

Monkeys usually live in trees, mountains, high plains, grassland, and forest habitats. New World monkeys are found in the tropical regions of South America, near the Amazon rainforest and a few species are also seen in southern to northern Mexico.

Old World monkey species from the family of primates have their origins in Asia and Africa and are found in rainforests, mountain terrains, shrublands, and savannas. The only surviving species in the entirety of Europe are the Barbary macaques.

What is a monkey's habitat?

Monkeys can be easily found all across the globe, and most of the species are tree-dwelling animals, except for macaques, mangabeys, and baboons who are terrestrial species. Most species are found in the tropical regions of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Japanese macaques are found where it snows, and spend their time mostly living near hot springs. Similarly, golden and Gelada monkeys are mountain dwellers. Vervet monkeys prefer habitats near lakes, streams, and rivers. Baboons are found in open wooded areas, savannas, and rocky hillsides, spending most of their time on the ground instead of in trees.

Who do monkeys live with?

Monkeys are social animals and they live in groups known as troops consisting of several males or a single male with several females and young monkeys. Within huge troops, monkeys form smaller groups, called harems, which include an adult male, several adult females, and their offspring. Females stay in the same group they were born in and are closely related to each other, whereas males will join a new group or create a new group themselves known as a harem with several other females. Unattached adult males, called bachelors, may form their own group.

How long do monkeys live?

A fully grown monkey can live for around 10-50 years, depending on the species. It has been found that some of these species can live for more than 50 years.

How do they reproduce?

A monkey reaches sexual maturity between 18 months and eight years depending on the species, and the gestation period varies from four to eight months also depending on the species. Some species breed for several months and some species breed throughout the entire year.

Females take care of the babies, and in some species, female monkeys give birth to a baby which looks quite different from its parents. Baby langurs are the perfect example, they are born orange in color whereas the parent is black in color. A young langur will change color within six months of their birth.

What is their conservation status?

There are almost 260 different species of monkeys and most of these species are listed as Least Concern as per the IUCN Red List. Though with a rapid decrease in their habitat the population of monkeys is on a decline. Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys are Critically Endangered with a total population of 260-330 individuals. Golden lion tamarins are also enlisted as an Endangered species, as are brown-headed spider monkeys.

Monkey Fun Facts

What do monkeys look like?

Monkeys can be easily differentiated from apes because of their tails and narrow-chested bodies. Monkeys have forward-facing eyes, hands almost similar to humans for grasping things, larger brains, fingerprints, and nails. New World monkeys have tails that are prehensile, which helps them to hang down from branches and collect food, whereas Old World monkeys do not have prehensile tails. Colobus monkeys have mantle hair that is used as a parachute while taking long leaps.

Monkey facts and information are amusing!

How cute are they?

Not all species of monkeys are cute. Pygmy marmosets are arguably the cutest among all monkey species, with a total length of 15 in(40 cm).

How do they communicate?

Monkeys are highly intelligent creatures and use body movements, vocalization, and facial expressions to communicate with others. To threaten another animal these species will stare at them, and to avoid any confrontation they might look away or down. Monkeys sometimes also use their tails to communicate and a loud vocalization is used when intimidating others. Monkeys also use hoots, grunts, barks, squeaks, screams, and wails to communicate with others.

Grinning and pulling up the lips is also a mode of communication used for showing anger and aggression while defending or fighting with others. These species sometimes show aggression by jerking their heads, yawning, and head bobbing. One species, known as night or owl monkeys, is nocturnal in nature and these monkeys use their wide eyes to see in the dark. They communicate with others via calls and scents while grunting.

How big are monkeys?

New World monkey species are usually smaller primates, which includes the smallest monkey known, the pygmy marmoset which can grow up to 4.7-6.2 in (12-16 cm). Muriqui monkeys (also known as woolly spider monkeys) can grow up to 22-28 in (55-70 cm).

Old World monkey species from the family of primates are slightly larger compared to New World monkeys with most of these species being arboreal (tree-dwellers) and only a few are terrestrial such as baboons. The smallest Old World monkey known currently is the talapoin, which grows up to 13.3-14.5 in (34-37 cm) and the largest among the Old World monkeys are the mandrills which can grow up to 41 in (104 cm).

How fast can monkeys run?

The fastest species among Old World monkeys are patas monkeys with a top recorded speed of 34 mph (55 kph), which is almost as fast as a thoroughbred racehorse!

How much do monkeys weigh?

The smallest species among New World species are pygmy marmosets and they can weigh up to 4.2-6.7 oz (120-190 g). The largest known New World species is the woolly spider, which can weigh up to 26-33 lb (12-15 kg). Whereas the smallest species among Old World monkeys, the talapoin, can weigh up to 24.6-45.5 oz (700-1300 g), and the largest among them, the mandrill, can weigh up to 110.2 lb (50 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been given to males and females of the species.

What would you call a baby monkey?

A baby monkey is called an infant. Females of most species carry their infants until they are able to fend for themselves. In a few species, such as tamarins and marmosets, the father of the infant carries them on his back and only hands the infant over to its mother for nursing.

What do they eat?

A monkey's diet consists of small mammals, bird eggs, seeds, fruits, spiders, insects, nuts, flowers, and even small animals. All Old World monkeys have a large cheek pouch that helps them to store their food. They can then feed on this stored food after finding a safe spot. Baboons are also found eating the meat of rabbits, birds, and small antelopes. Langurs and colobus monkeys can easily digest leaves with the help of bacterias available in their three or four-chambered stomachs.

Are they aggressive?

Monkeys can become extremely aggressive in nature, it is difficult to apprehend an angry monkey. Monkeys are extremely defensive towards their territory and will become afraid of anyone who tries to enter their territory. They are highly likely to attack in this scenario.

Would they make a good pet?

No, not all species of monkeys can be good pets. It is extremely difficult to take care of a monkey as a pet. Monkeys are messy, loud, and difficult to care for, and they sometimes tend to be extremely aggressive. Most species of monkeys will lead a short and unhappy life in captivity if the conditions are not right for them. Only a few species of monkeys can be kept as pets such as the green monkey, the grivet, and the vervet, and even if they are pets, make sure you take precautions while petting them!

Did you know...

In some parts of Africa, monkeys are hunted for their meat which is known as bushmeat, and in some parts of southern Asia and China, monkey brains are eaten as gourmet food. According to Islamic law, it is forbidden to eat monkey meat.

Most monkey species live in trees and only a few of them are terrestrial.

Monkeys take part in daily mutual grooming to keep the family together as a bonding activity.

Howler monkeys use their prehensile tails to grip a tree branch to move around on top of the tree.

Most monkeys do not eat bananas, as these are not easily found in the majority of habitats that they live in in the wild.

Different types of monkey

Monkeys are divided into two groups: Old World monkeys and New World monkeys. Old World monkeys consist of 24 genera and are further divided into 138 separate species, whereas New World monkeys consist of 122 species.

Howler monkeys belong to the group of New World monkeys are considered to be one of the largest monkeys. They are not endangered. This species finds its origin in Central and South America and these monkeys are named after their thunderous loud cries. One of the best howler monkey facts is that howler monkeys hardly ever descend to the ground!

Capuchin monkeys belong to the group of New World monkeys and originate from tropical forest habitats in Southern America, extending to Argentina. This species has a white face and a brown body. Capuchin monkeys are so cute that capuchin monkey facts like this one are sure to intrigue you!

Spider monkeys belong to the group of New World monkeys and are originally from southern Mexico and Brazil. One of the best spider monkey facts is that this species does not have thumbs but their grasping ability is extremely strong, pretty cool right?

The pygmy marmoset is found in the Amazon Basin. One of the best marmoset monkey facts is that they are considered to be the smallest monkey species in size.

Baboons belong to the group of Old World monkeys and are further divided into five different species. An adult baboon can kill lion cubs and leopards if confronted.

What is special about monkeys?

Monkeys can walk on two legs just like humans! Capuchin monkeys, in particular, are highly intelligent creatures and many organizations have trained them as service animals for people affected by paralysis, including people with spinal cord injuries. These monkeys go through substantial training as an infant to assist people with disabilities. They can assist with daily tasks of retriving items, personal care, manipulation of objects, and feeding.

The United States and France have used rhesus macaque monkeys for their space exploration programs. The first monkey to enter space was Albert II via the US launched V-2 rocket on June 14, 1949.

In many religions, monkeys portray different roles, for instance in Jainism, monkeys are considered as the symbol of the fourth Tirthankara. In Hinduism, Hanuman, a monkey god, is a symbol of strength and courage.

In Chinese culture, monkeys can symbolize greed along with deer representing lovesickness and the tiger representing anger. In Japanese culture, they personify the principle of 'speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil'.

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 gorilla facts and capuchin monkey facts for kids.

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



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.