Colobus Monkey Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The colobus monkey (colobids) is a group of monkeys that are extremely rare within their limited range. Common among these monkeys is black and white colobus monkey which are mainly recognized by their black fur. Red colobus monkeys are the largest of the colobus monkeys.

Colobus Monkey Facts

Anatomy

  • Colobus monkeys are medium-size monkeys but they have long limbs and a small head as compared to the body. They have got a tiny thumb.
  • The average length of the black colobus (C. satanas) and Angola pied colobus (C. angolensis) measures around 90 – 150 cm.
  • They weigh up to 3 – 15 kg and the tail averages 50 – 100 cm in length.
  • Colobus monkeys have got shiny chin and cheeks.
  • They possess a long prehensile tail which equals the length of its body.
  • The olive colobus is the smallest of colobus species with the head-body length averaging 43 – 50 cm.
colobus monkey facts
Black and White Colobus ©www.pbase.com

Distribution

  • Colobus monkeys mainly occur in Africa ranging from western Ethiopia to Senegal as well as southern Congo.
  • They are typically tree-dwellers and are mostly found in the tree-tops of dense forests.
  • Olive colobus may be seen foraging on the ground but they come down only on purpose which is to visit saltlicks.
  • The guereza colobus is still very much common within its range.

Habitat

Colobus monkeys are most likely to survive in the dense rainforests including mainland lowlands.

Behavior

  • Colobus monkeys often make small groups that consist of around 20 individuals. One male leads the group.
  • Each of the group defines their territories and actively defends it by producing several threatening calls. If they fear something colobus monkeys prefer to stay hidden.
  • Colobus monkeys are extremely shy and you must be lucky enough spot one in the thick forest.
  • They have got an average lifespan of 20 years in the wild.
  • A group prefers to stay in the middle of the marked territory.
  • The guereza colobus is thought to make relatively small groups.
colobus monkey facts
Colobus Monkeys in a zoo

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • Colobus monkeys begin their day minutes after the sunset and the first thing they do is a search for food.
  • They are little selective in trees as some trees are preferred over others. Colobus monkey’s diet consists of fruits, flowers, leaves, shoots, and seeds.

Reproductive Biology

  • During the breeding season, only the dominant male mates with a female. The female monkey leaves the group when she is about to give birth.
  • The breeding season continues all year round.
  • Male colobus attains maturity at 3 – 6 years age while females become mature at 2 – 4 years of age.
  • The gestation period lasts about 4 – 6 months with a variable breeding interval.
  • The newborn baby monkey is all white and it clings to the mother’s back when it is 14 days old. When the infant reaches 42 days it begins to consume leaves.
  • The weaning period lasts about 210 days. Once it is fully weaned the young monkey leaves mother and begins to stay with youngsters of other groups.
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