What kinds of monkeys live in Senegal?
If you visit Senegal, 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!
5 monkey species that live in Senegal:
- Pan troglodytes
Also known as Chimps.
- On average, adults are 150 cm (59 in) long.
- Their faces, hands, and feet are hairless, and they do not have tails.
- They have shaggy coats of black fur. Gray patches and bald spots may develop as they age.
Although related, Chimpanzees are technically apes, not monkeys.
Chimpanzees have remarkable intelligence and are humans’ closest animal relatives. You’ll see them using altered sticks when probing for insects and honey. They also use rocks and branches to bash open hard-shelled nuts. Occasionally, they even rub insects onto their wounds for medical relief.
This iconic species lives in communities of up to 150 members. Frequently, they split into smaller groups when foraging for food. They mostly eat fruits, though they sometimes prey on warthogs and small monkeys when they are craving meat. Male chimps act as guardians, fighting off males from rival groups to defend their territories.
Chimpanzees are fascinating creatures, but it’s best to observe them from afar. In addition to their sharp teeth and incredible strength, chimps can be wildly unpredictable and aggressive. Several attacks on humans have been recorded, some of which have resulted in death.
Check out this video of the “Top 5” chimpanzee moments caught on camera by BBC Earth.
#2. Patas Monkey
- Erythrocebus patas
Also known as the Wadi Monkey or Hussar Monkey.
- 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 Senegal 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. Green Monkey
- Chlorocebus sabaeus
Also known as Sabaeus Monkey.
- Adults have a body length of 30-60 cm (12-24 in). Their gold-tipped tails are 41-76 cm (16-30 in) long.
- They have yellowish hair surrounding their dark faces.
- These monkeys have a tinge of green and gold on their grayish coats. Their undersides are white in contrast.
If you spot a Green Monkey in Senegal, chances are there are more nearby! A community can harbor up to 80 individuals, often staying near fresh water. They go swimming in rivers to cool down when it gets too hot. These monkeys can survive in habitats such as rainforest outskirts, dry woodlands, and coastal areas.
60% of their waking hours are spent traveling and searching for food. They prefer fruits, seeds, and leaves. As opportunistic predators, Green Monkeys also eat insects, small lizards, crabs, and lungfish. Populations overlapping with urban regions are notorious for stealing food from unwary tourists. Stay vigilant! 🙂
These primates are quite vulnerable, so they’ve developed distinct calls to warn troop mates of predators. For example, barks indicate a leopard sighting, while chirps alert others of a snake slithering around. Green Monkeys are quieter in areas where hunting is prevalent to hide from poachers.
#4. Senegal Bushbaby
- Galago senegalensis
Also known as the Northern Lesser Galago.
- 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 Senegal!
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.
- Check out our LIVE bird camera from Senegal HERE! At night it’s common to see bushbabies visiting the feeder. 🙂
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.
#5. Western Red Colobus
- Piliocolobus badius
Also known as the Rust Red Colobus.
- Adults are 45-67 cm (18-26 in) long. Their tails are 52-80 cm (20-31 in) in length.
- Look for their black brows and reddish beards.
- Their coats are split between reddish brown colors at the front and smokey gray on the back.
These red daredevils navigate through all canopy levels, swinging from branch to branch with outstanding agility. They thrive in dense rainforests far away from civilization. Often, you’ll find Western Red Colobuses near rivers or streams. Groups are made up of 20-90 members and are noticeably noisy.
Curiously, Western Red Colobuses ignore ripe fruits prized by other monkeys. Instead, they seem to have no problem eating unripe fruits! This is because their multi-chambered stomachs are better suited for digesting fibers instead of sugars. Hence, they prefer foraging for unripe fruit, young shoots, and leaves.
These are some of the most aggressively territorial monkeys in Senegal.
Upon sighting a leopard, a troop member will bellow a long call to rally several males. Together, they’ll try to chase the leopard away from their homes. Chimpanzees are one of the only animals this monkey won’t challenge. Instead, they let out a short, abrupt call, urging the others to climb higher up the canopy to evade them.
For more information about animals in Senegal, check out these guides:
Which of these monkeys in Senegal is your favorite?
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