What kinds of monkeys live in Malawi?
If you visit Malawi, 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!
4 monkey species that live in Malawi:
#1. Vervet Monkey
- Chlorocebus pygerythrus
Also known as the Vervet, Common Vervet, Desert Tumbuli, or Yellow Monkey.
- Adults are 42-60 cm (17-24 in) long with 49-75 cm (19-30 in) tails.
- Males are larger, and you can easily identify them by their bright blue scrotums.
- They have black faces. Their fur coats are shades of gray that grow brown towards the back.
Keep your food hidden! Vervet Monkeys are bold and frequently steal food from households.
These cheeky monkeys live in Malawi in woodlands, savannahs, and mountainous regions. Their behavior is incredibly similar to humans, with some individuals showing traits such as anxiety and alcoholism.
Vervet Monkeys spend as much time among the trees as they do on the ground. When foraging the forest floor, they gather in groups of 10-40 individuals. Then, after a long day, they climb back up to the highest branches to rest.
Note that these monkeys are highly territorial and will scream aggressively at any intruders! For example, if a Vervet spots a predator lurking around, it will bellow an alarm call to inform others of the danger.
#2. Blue Monkey
- Cercopithecus mitis
Also known as the Diademed Monkey.
- Adults are 50-65 cm (20-26 in) long.
- Look for a white patch of fur on their necks. They also have round, furry cheeks.
- Contrary to their name, Blue Monkeys have grayish or olive coats.
Look for Blue Monkeys in Malawi high among the tree canopy.
They prefer shaded areas with high humidity and nearby water sources. Blue Monkeys are occasional allies and share territory with Red-tailed Monkeys. On the other hand, they avoid Baboons and Chimpanzees, who sometimes prey on them.
Blue Monkeys function in groups of 10-15. An alpha male acts as the leader of several subgroups consisting of females and their children. Females can be aggressive towards one another, especially when defending their food.
Roughly half of their diets are fruits, but they also eat flowers, leaves, and slow-moving invertebrates. Blue Monkeys rarely leave the safety of treetops, so don’t expect to come across one at ground level. However, sometimes, they bask in the early morning sun from lower bare branches.
#3. Mohol Bushbaby
- Galago moholi
Also known as the Southern Lesser Galago.
- Adults are about 15 cm (6 in) long with a tail of 23 cm (9 in).
- 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.
Mohol Bushbabies are some of the cutest primates in Malawi!
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. Mohol 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.
- Check out our LIVE bird camera from Malawi HERE! At night it’s common to see Mohol Bushbabies visiting the feeder. 🙂
Interestingly, Mohol 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.
#4. Yellow Baboon
- Papio cynocephalus
Also known as the Central Yellow Baboon and Baboon.
- Adults are 60-84 cm (24-33 in) long, with tails about the same length.
- They have black faces and dog-like muzzles. Pale fur covers their cheeks.
- True to their name, these primates are covered with yellowish coats.
Yellow Baboons frequent open grasslands and lightly wooded savannas. In the daytime, they search for food and socialize with one another. Once night falls, they retreat into the safety of trees or rocky cliffs.
Keep your eyes peeled for a traveling pack of Yellow Baboons! Dominant males lead the group, while females and their children stay in the middle. Less dominant males, in the meantime, guard the rear. These migrations are a sight since their numbers can breach 200!
Life in the Yellow Baboon community is a never-ending struggle to climb up the ranks. Males fight among themselves to vie for the attention of females. Interestingly, male baboons carry babies to placate other males, allowing them to approach without getting attacked.
For more information about animals in Malawi, check out these guides:
Which of these monkeys in Malawi is your favorite?
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