7 Types of Monkeys Found in Benin! (ID Guide)

What kinds of monkeys live in Benin?

Types of monkeys in Benin

If you visit Benin, it’s only natural to ask yourself the above question. I mean, who doesn’t want to see monkeys!?

Luckily, there are quite a few species you should be able to find. So, keep reading to learn how to identify each monkey, ape, and primate, and learn some fun and interesting facts. Pictures and range maps are also included!

7 monkey species that live in Benin:


#1. Olive Baboon

  • Papio anubis

Also known as the Anubis Baboon.

Common Benin monkeys

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 85 cm (33 in) long.
  • Their long muzzles resemble a dog’s, and their tails are strangely bent as if they were broken.
  • As their name suggests, their fur has an olive tint.

Olive Baboons are among the largest monkeys in Benin!

You’ll find them in savannas, forests, and grasslands. These primates gather in groups of 15-150 members.

Their flexible diets, as well as their adaptability to different habitats, have made them the most widespread species of all baboons. Olive Baboons eat anything from plants to small animals. When hunting as a band, they can even take down small antelopes! Populations close to farmlands also prey on goats and sheep.

These monkeys follow a complex social hierarchy. Adult females form the core of the system, with social ranks passed down from mother to daughter. Several females create smaller sub-groups to groom each other and provide backup during conflicts. Meanwhile, males compete with one another to establish dominance.


#2. Patas Monkey

  • Erythrocebus patas

Also known as the Wadi Monkey or Hussar Monkey.

Common monkeys found in Benin

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are generally 61-89 cm (24-35 in) long and have 51-76 cm (20-30 in) tails.
  • Males are much larger than females.
  • White hair frames their dark faces. They have pale coats that grow reddish brown around their backs.

Patas Monkeys aren’t your average monkey in Benin that lives in trees!

Instead, they are ground-dwellers known for their impressive speed. Patas Monkeys are the fastest sprinters among primates, clocking in at 55 km/h (34 mph). They roam savannahs where trees are sparse and widely spaced.

Troops of Patas Monkeys can contain up to 60 members, with only one adult male leading the females and juveniles. At night, they sleep together in trees where predators can’t reach them. Sometimes, they must boldly fight off wildcats and jackals at watering holes!

Since they live in arid habitats, they spend a lot of time finding food and water. These monkeys like to feed on sap leaking out from Acacia tree trunks. Where their territories encroach with human settlements, they’ve acquired a taste for farm crops.


#3. Tantalus Monkey

  • Chlorocebus tantalus
Monkeys of Benin
Credit (left image): Bernard Dupont, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 30-83 cm (12-33 in) long, with 41-66 cm (16-26 in) tails.
  • Males are notably larger than females.
  • They have dark faces outlined with white fur.
  • Their undersides are white, while the rest of their coats are grayish or yellow.

It’s common to encounter Tantalus Monkeys in Benin near people due to urban expansion. This species thrives in woodlands, grasslands, and degraded forests. Groups of 30 individuals loiter around the edges of forests, always close to fresh water. Their varied diets include grasses, berries, and small animals, but they enjoy fruits the most.

Tantalus Monkeys don’t take kindly to strangers, aggressively screaming to shoo away intruders. They have 36 unique alarm calls for different situations and threats. They’re so loud because they aren’t as nimble as other monkeys in trees.

Bands of Tantalus Monkeys spend most of their days foraging on the ground. Cleverly, these primates store food inside their cheeks for later consumption. Once a feeding ground runs low on resources, they migrate to new areas.


#4. Mona Monkey

  • Cercopithecus mona

Species of monkeys in Benin

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are approximately 41-51 cm (16-20 in) long, with 52-73 cm (20-29 in) tails that become blacker towards the tip.
  • They have fuzzy white hair on their cheeks and foreheads.
  • Their coats are a mix of brown, gray, and brick red. In contrast, their underparts are creamy white.

Though they face habitat decline, Mona Monkeys in Benin are widespread in lowland and mangrove forests. They enjoy loitering near riverbanks. About a dozen individuals converge to form a troop. If they sense a predator on the prowl, they all freeze and stay completely motionless to remain undetected.

Mona Monkeys have quite interesting vocalizations! For example, they squeak at each other while foraging, and their alarm calls sound like sneezes and high-pitched chirps. Meanwhile, dominant males make booming calls to establish their territories.

Mona Monkeys are most active in the early mornings and late afternoons, reserving the midday for rest and grooming. They can run and leap across tree gaps with athletic skill. They scour the canopies for fruits, flowers, leaves, and seeds. Brazenly, some specimens even hunt snakes!


#5. Senegal Bushbaby

  • Galago senegalensis

Also known as the Northern Lesser Galago.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Even as adults, these tiny creatures are only 9-21 cm (4-8 in) long, with 11-28 cm (4-11 in) tails.
  • They have notably large and rounded eyes. Their ears, hands, and feet are also proportionally large.
  • Their wooly coats range from gray to brown. Some have stripes and markings on their bodies.

Senegal Bushbabies are one of the most widespread primates in Benin!

They thrive in dry woodlands and savannas. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss them! These fast little critters sprint and leap through the tangle of branches, using their long tails for balance.

What they lack in size, they make up for with an array of adaptive abilities. Senegal Bushbabies are equipped with large eyes to help them see in the dark of night. Also, their twitchy ears can detect the faintest sounds from the insects they feed on. Finally, their tongues are narrow enough to reach deep into cracks where bugs hide. These primates eat fruits, nuts, and tree sap if they can’t find prey.

Interestingly, Senegal Bushbabies got their name because their cries sound like that of a human infant! Family units of 2-5 mark their territories with urine to keep outsiders from trespassing. Adult females and their children sleep together in tree hollows, while adult males sleep alone. They tend to bite and spit when threatened, so try not to startle them.


#6. West African Potto

  • Perodicticus potto

Also known as the Bush Bear, Tree Bear, and Softly-softly.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 30-39 cm (12-15 in). Their tails can grow 4-10 cm (2-4 in) long.
  • Their thick limbs are roughly the same length as their bodies!
  • They have pointed snouts, and their coats are different shades of brown.

The West African Potto inhabits coastal and lowland forests where vegetation runs thick. Smaller specimens prefer warm habitats, while larger ones can withstand cooler mountain climates. While they mostly eat fruits, they can also feed on prey slugs and poisonous millipedes that other primates ignore.

Unlike most social primates, West African Pottos live alone. The only exceptions are females who care for their offspring. They don’t have the branch-swinging agility typically associated with monkeys. Instead, they are slow, quiet travelers. If you try to approach them, they might feel threatened and stay frozen still until you go away.

Sluggish as West African Pottos are, these night-dwelling primates aren’t entirely defenseless. Bony protrusions called scapular shields protect their necks and shoulders against biting predators. Additionally, they use these shields to knock their attackers off trees with a well-placed headbutt.


#7. White-thighed Colobus

  • Colobus vellerosus

Also known as the Ursone Colobus Monkey.

Credit (left image): Achille G. Eye, (right image): Simon Tonge, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 61-67 cm (24-26 in) in length, with 75-93 cm (30-37 in) white tails.
  • White hair prominently frames their black faces.
  • They have black coats, though their thighs have patches of white hair. The crowns of their heads are black as well.

White-thighed Colobus monkeys in Benin can adapt to many habitats.

They live in savannas, forested swamps, and lowland rainforests. You’ll spot them swinging across branches while their prehensile tails help maintain their balance.

White-thighed Colobuses can sit comfortably on rough branches because they have thick skin on their buttocks! They mostly eat seeds and young leaves, though they also prey on insects. Since their diet doesn’t give them much energy, they spend 70% of their day resting.

White-thighed Colobuses gather in communities of 5-30 individuals. Dominant males regularly infiltrate rival groups to recruit females to their own group. If you hear several of these animals snorting in unison, proceed with caution. This is usually a sign that a predator is lurking nearby!


For more information about animals in Benin, check out these guides:


Which of these monkeys in Benin is your favorite?

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