Big Monkeys Overview: 10 Largest Monkey Species (2024)

Big Monkeys Overview

Monkeys are a diverse group of primates, and some of the largest species are truly impressive in both size and weight.

Among these big monkeys, the colors vary, with hues ranging from black to light brown, enabling them to camouflage and adapt to various habitats.

The majority tend to be arboreal, living in the treetops, but there are also terrestrial species that roam the grounds of forests.

Big Monkeys Overview: 10 Largest Monkey Species (1)

Biggest monkeys

Below is a list of the top ten biggest monkey species, ordered by their average weight:

  1. Mandrill(Mandrillus sphinx): 77 lbs (35 kg)
  2. Drill(Mandrillus leucophaeus): 71 lbs (32 kg)
  3. Olive Baboon(Papio anubis): 70 lbs (32 kg)
  4. Chacma Baboon(Papio ursinus): 68 lbs (31 kg)
  5. Yellow Baboon(Papio cynocephalus): 66 lbs (30 kg)
  6. Hamadryas Baboon(Papio hamadryas): 62 lbs (28 kg)
  7. Guinea Baboon(Papio papio): 60 lbs (27 kg)
  8. Gelada(Theropithecus gelada): 55 lbs (25 kg)
  9. Patas Monkey(Erythrocebus patas): 27 lbs (12 kg)
  10. Proboscis Monkey(Nasalis larvatus): 26 lbs (12 kg)
Big Monkeys Overview: 10 Largest Monkey Species (2)

Note: Weights can vary depending on sex and individual differences within each species.

The list focuses on average adult male weights for consistency.

Some primates, such as apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gibbons), are not considered monkeys and are therefore not included in this list.

Biggest primates

Below is a list of the top ten biggest primates, ordered by their average weight:

  1. Eastern Lowland Gorilla(Gorilla beringei graueri): 550 lbs (250 kg)
  2. Western Lowland Gorilla(Gorilla gorilla gorilla): 510 lbs (231 kg)
  3. Eastern Chimpanzee(Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii): 120 lbs (54 kg)
  4. Western Chimpanzee(Pan troglodytes verus): 115 lbs (52 kg)
  5. Central Chimpanzee(Pan troglodytes troglodytes): 110 lbs (50 kg)
  6. Bonobo(Pan paniscus): 85 lbs (39 kg)
  7. Orangutan(Pongo pygmaeus): 170 lbs (77 kg)
  8. Mandrill(Mandrillus sphinx): 77 lbs (35 kg)
  9. Drill(Mandrillus leucophaeus): 71 lbs (32 kg)
  10. Olive Baboon(Papio anubis): 70 lbs (32 kg)

Prehensile tails

When it comes to their bodies, many of these larger monkeys have developed prehensile tails, an evolutionary feature that aids in their arboreal lifestyle.

These tails function almost like a fifth limb, grasping and holding onto branches securely.

In terms of their social structure, these primates are known for forming troops, which are complex communities where food, protection, and breeding partners are shared.

Fruits, leaves, insects, flowersVocalizations, howling, social interactionsSexual dimorphism, gestation period, infant care

The diet of these hefty creatures is primarily omnivorous, including fruits, leaves, insects, and sometimes flowers.

They’re not picky eaters, which is advantageous given their size requires a substantial amount of food.

Communication among these monkeys is sophisticated, involving a range of vocalizations and howling, which can signal anything from social bonding to dominance within their hierarchical society.

Sexual dimorphism is often noticeable, with males usually larger and more robust than females.

Finally, the breeding and raising of young is a significant aspect of their lives.

Females have a gestation period after which they give birth to an infant that they care for diligently.

These infants are part of the troop from day one and learn the ropes of monkey life through observation and participation.

Big monkeys exhibit a fascinating array of behaviors and characteristics that demonstrate their adaptation to diverse environments.

From their impressive prehensile tails to their complex social structures, they captivate onlookers and play pivotal roles in their ecosystems.

Habitat and Conservation

Big monkeys, such as howler monkeys and larger primate species, depend heavily on their natural habitats for survival, which face existential threats due to human activities.

This section delves into where they live, their conservation status, and the effects of human encroachment.

Natural Habitats

Big monkeys are typically found across various forested regions including the rainforests of South America, the dense forests of Africa and Asia, and the tropical rainforests of Borneo and Indonesia.

Species such as the howler monkeys prefer the canopies of the rainforests, while others may be adapted to the mixed woodland and savannas of Africa and India.

These diverse ecosystems provide the necessary food and shelter that big monkeys require.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of big monkeys ranges from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Deforestation and habitat loss, primarily due to agriculture and human settlement expansion, are the leading causes of declining monkey populations.

Not only do these practices shrink their living spaces, but they also curtail food sources and breeding grounds.

Human Impact

Human activity has significantly sculpted the landscape in which big monkeys live.

The slash-and-burn agriculture, logging for timber, and the clearing of forests for human settlement have all contributed to habitat degradation and fragmentation.

For instance, howler monkeys have experienced a decrease in food availability with patch size reduction in fragmented habitats.

Conservation efforts thus focus on maintaining forest integrity and connectivity to ensure long-term survival of these primates in the wild.

Species and Classification

Big Monkeys Overview: 10 Largest Monkey Species (3)

In the complex world of primatology, monkeys are divided into two main groups: those that inhabit the New World, primarily found in the Americas, and those from the Old World, located mostly in Asia and Africa.

These classifications are based on distinct evolutionary histories and geographical distributions.

New World Monkeys

New World monkeys are an intriguing and varied assembly of primates, primarily located in the tropical forests of South America and Central America.

Notable within this group are the howler monkeys, which are famous for their loud calls that can travel up to three miles through dense forest.

They live in groups, and these vocal acrobatics help maintain group cohesion and mark territory.

Another fascinating species is the spider monkey.

These acrobats of the tree canopy are known for their long limbs and prehensile tails, which serve as an extra hand to swing from branch to branch.

For more specifics on the diversity of New World monkeys, explore the classification and diversity of these primates.

Old World Monkeys

In contrast, Old World monkeys are primarily found across Asia and Africa, boasting a range of species from the Japanese macaques, which enjoy hot springs in snowy landscapes, to the baboons of the African savannas with their complex social systems.

A particular standout is the proboscis monkey from Borneo, sporting an unusually large nose and a pot-bellied appearance.

Then, there are the macaques, a diverse genus with members like the Tibetan macaque living in the mountainous forest regions of China.

The mandrills and drills are the most vividly colored primates in the world, with facial hues that intensify during social excitement.

To learn more about how these Old World monkeys fit into the broader primate classification, take a look at the insights on the taxonomy and distribution of these species.

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Big Monkeys Overview: 10 Largest Monkey Species (2024)
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