What kinds of monkeys live in the Central African Republic?
If you visit the Central African Republic, 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!
15 monkey species that live in the Central African Republic:
#1. Olive Baboon
- Papio anubis
Also known as the Anubis Baboon.
- 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 the Central African Republic!
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.
- 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.
#3. Mantled Guereza
- Colobus guereza
Also known as the Eastern Black-and-white Colobus and Omo River Guereza.
- Adults grow up to 62 cm (24 in).
- Their faces are framed with white hair, but the tufts on their heads are black. Their tails have white tufts towards the tips.
- Their coats are mostly black with long, white-tipped hairs on the back.
The Mantled Guereza is one of the prettiest monkeys in the Central African Republic. They hang out in groups of 3-15 members, usually near river streams. You’ll have to look up the treetops to spot them! They leap across branches with ease, only descending to the ground when the gaps in the canopy are too wide.
The most common way to find Mantled Guerezas is to listen. They make a chorus of roars just before sunrise! Dominant males from different groups roar at one another to declare their territories. This prevents unnecessary conflict between the groups.
With only leaves, flowers, and unripe fruits as their source of nutrition, these monkeys don’t get enough energy for long travel and foraging. Instead, they take turns sleeping throughout the day, with at least one individual acting as a guard against predators.
#4. Red-tailed Monkey
- Cercopithecus ascanius
Also known as the Red-tailed Guenon or Schmidt’s Guenon.
- Adults are 30-61 cm (12-24 in) long, with tails that can reach 89 cm (35 in).
- Their noses and cheeks are notably white, while their tails are reddish brown.
- Brown or dark gray hair covers their bodies.
Red-tailed Monkeys in the Central African Republic use their long tails to balance themselves as they travel from tree to tree. If you encounter one of them, expect up to 30 more nearby. These monkeys live in forested regions. A dominant male leads the rest of the group, which consists mostly of females and their offspring.
Though they enjoy eating fruits the most, Red-tailed Monkeys switch to consuming leaves and insects in times of scarcity. Interestingly, they use their cheek pouches to store whatever food they find. They eat only once they’ve retreated to a safe area away from predators and thieving rivals.
This species is quite sociable, and it’s common to see them bumping noses as a form of greeting. Additionally, they make bird-like chirps when communicating from a distance. They also groom one another to deepen their bonds.
#5. Grey-cheeked Mangabey
- Lophocebus albigena
Also known as the White-cheeked Mangabey.
- Adults are 45-73 cm (18-29 in) long with tails between 67-100 cm (26-39 in).
- A dull brown mane covers their necks, shoulders, and chests. Their thick coats are dark brown or black.
- They have whitish or gray hairs on their cheeks, as their name suggests.
The Grey-cheeked Mangabey lives in the treetops of tropical forests alongside 5-30 others. Territories usually overlap between opposing groups. Thankfully, these groups avoid one another, so conflicts rarely occur. Several males act as protectors, risking their lives to drive away eagles that prey on their young.
Foraging for food high up in the canopy can be treacherous. Fortunately, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys have long, prehensile tails to help them balance as they leap from branch to branch.
They use their strong jaws to crack hard nuts and seeds that other primates can’t open. However, figs are their favorite food. They like them so much that studies have even shown that Grey-cheeked Mangabeys give birth more often during the fruiting season of fig trees!
#6. Moustached Monkey
- Cercopithecus cephus
Also known as the Moustached Guenon or Red-tailed Mustached Monkey.
- Adults are 49-58 cm (19-23 in) long with 70-78 cm (28-31 in) tails.
- They have bluish-gray faces. Their coats are a blend of gray and brown fur.
- True to their name, these monkeys have a prominent white strip of fur under their noses, resembling a mustache!
Moustached Monkeys in the Central African Republic are naturally gifted jumpers.
They can leap across tree gaps up to 20 meters (66 feet) apart! Most of the time, however, they prefer to walk on all fours. Careful not to fall, they use their tails to grip branches for balance.
Gathering in troops of 10-40 members, Moustached Monkeys sometimes ally with other primates such as Mangabeys. These alliances allow them to have more eyes looking for predators.
Moustached Monkeys mostly eat fruits, but nuts from oil palm trees are a crucial part of their diets. As omnivores, they also eat baby birds, eggs, and insects. These monkeys store food in their large cheek pouches while foraging to avoid predators. Then, they retreat to sheltered areas where they can eat in peace.
#7. 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 the Central African Republic 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.
#8. Tantalus Monkey
- Chlorocebus tantalus
- 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 the Central African Republic 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.
#9. Putty-nosed Monkey
- Cercopithecus nictitans
Also known as the Cowardly Monkey and Greater Spot-nosed Monkey.
- Adults are 43-66 cm (17-26 in) long. Their tails can grow 36-53 cm (14-21 in) in length.
- These monkeys earned their names because of their distinctive white noses.
- You might notice a “mustache” on their upper lips. They have olive-gray fur.
You’ll need to look up to spot Putty-nosed Monkeys in the Central African Republic.
They rarely climb down to the forest floor. These monkeys thrive in humid habitats such as tropical and mangrove forests. A community has 12-30 members, each skilled at acrobatic displays when traveling from branch to branch.
A Putty-nosed monkey with puffy cheeks is likely saving food for later. Its highly elastic cheek pouch can store almost as much food as its stomach can fit. This species feeds mainly on fruits and occasionally nuts and leaves. Populations living close to agricultural lands might raid farm crops as well.
Putty-nosed Monkeys are incredibly alert and vocal. Males often make booming calls to signal danger to the rest of their troops. They’re so easily startled that some people call them “cowardly monkeys.”
#10. Western Gorilla
- Gorilla gorilla
Also known simply as gorillas.
- Adults reach 120-180 cm (47-71 in) tall.
- They are mostly black or dark gray, though their foreheads have a brown tinge.
- Adult males have a patch of silver hair on their backs.
- Females are roughly half the size of males. They also have much less prominent crowns.
The critically endangered Western Gorilla lives in secluded tropical rainforests and swamps. An adult male, or “silverback,” typically protects 4-8 adult females and their offspring.
Together, these apes travel vast distances in search of their favorite food: fruits. They also supplement their diets with roots, shoots, and nuts. During drier seasons, you’ll see them probing termite mounds with tools fashioned from sticks.
Most of the time, Western Gorillas live peacefully even when they cross paths with other groups. Now and then, however, a silverback will challenge the troop leader to usurp his position. You’ll recognize such challenges when these apes start beating their chests with their fists.
While their parents are busy foraging for the family, juveniles play with each other during the day. Once night falls, Western Gorillas build nests out of plant material. They each get a nest to sleep in, except for infants who sleep with their mothers.
#11. Crowned Monkey
- Cercopithecus pogonias
Also known as Crested Mona Monkey, Crowned Guenon, Golden-bellied Guenon, or Golden-bellied Monkey.
- Adults can grow 32-53 cm (13-21 in) long, with 66-89 cm (26-35 in) tails.
- Males are larger than females, and you can distinguish them by their blue scrotums.
- Take note of the black “mask” spanning their temples, eyes, and noses.
- They have brown coats of fur with gray specks. Their undersides are paler in contrast.
Crowned Monkeys in the Central African Republic live in lowland rainforests that feature healthy canopies. They are clever and quick-handed, swiftly stuffing their cheeks with fruits and seeds. Before eating, they move to a safer area where thieves and predators can’t reach them.
Normally, a band of Crowned Monkeys has 8-20 members and is led by an alpha male. They’re highly vocal. You’ll recognize them by the booming call an alpha makes to announce his territory to neighboring troops.
Crowned Monkeys are impressively agile. To cross wide-gapped branches, they run on all fours before making an enormous leap. They normally walk unscathed even when they miss their landing and fall to the ground. While resting, they entwine their tails with each other.
#12. 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 the Central African Republic!
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 the Central African Republic 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.
#13. Agile Mangabey
- Cercocebus agilis
- Adults are 44-65 cm (17-26 in) in length and have long tails.
- They have bare, black faces bordered by light-colored tufts of hair.
- Their coats are short, olive-gray, and paler toward their underparts.
Agile Mangabeys prefer to live in swampy areas and untouched forests. A dominant male leads a troop of 7-22 members. They usually stay high up in the trees near freshwater sources. However, they descend to the forest floor during the dry season to forage.
Like most monkeys in the Central African Republic, Agile Mangabeys eat fruits, grasses, and mushrooms. Additionally, this species has large teeth and powerful jaws to break open hard nuts. They don’t always eat their spoils on the spot. Sometimes, they store food inside their cheek pouches to snack on later.
You’ll most likely hear Agile Mangabeys before you see them! These noisy monkeys have many calls for alerting and maintaining their groups. If you do see one, watch out when it starts staring and bobbing its head up and down. This is an aggression display, so it’s best you take the hint and back away.
#14. Central Potto
- Perodicticus edwardsi
Also known as the Milne-Edwards Potto.
- Adults are 37-42 cm (15-17 in). Their puffy tails are about 6 cm (2 in) long.
- They have large eyes and pointed snouts.
- Their thick coats are different shades of brown.
These solitary primates live in swampy areas and lowland tropical forests. Central Pottos are shy and nocturnal, so they’re not easy to come by. Look for glowing orbs in the dark! Central Pottos have a layer of reflective tissue through their retinas, giving them keen night vision and luminescent eyes.
Fruits make up most of their food intake, with figs being a particular favorite. In times of drought, Central Pottos sustain themselves with tree gum, snails, and insects. After foraging at night, they retreat to the safety of tree hollows to rest in the daytime.
Central Pottos aren’t acrobats like other monkeys in the Central African Republic.
Instead, they make slow, stealthy movements as they cross branches so they don’t attract attention from predators. Mother pottos rub saliva on their offspring to repel predators. Despite their docile personalities, they are better left alone. If cornered, these animals will hiss and lunge at their captors.
#15. Southern Needle-clawed Galago
- Euoticus elegantulus
Also known as the Elegant Galago and Western Needle-clawed Bushbaby.
- Adults are about 20 cm (8 in) long. Their tails average 29 cm (11 in).
- They have significantly huge eyes and ears in proportion to their body size.
- Their soft coats are a blend of orange-brown and gray hair. Their underparts are paler in contrast.
Southern Needle-clawed Galagos live in wet tropical rainforests where gum-producing trees are abundant. They seldom leave the cover of the canopy and are nocturnal, so they’re hard to come by. However, predators track them through the scent of their urine.
If you spot one of these primates in the Central African Republic, you might be startled to see its head turn 180 degrees! Thanks to this ability, plus their keen eyes and ears, they are excellent at scanning for threats. When chased, Southern Needle-clawed Galagos leap and glide with their limbs outstretched to escape their pursuers.
As their name suggests, these creatures have sharp nails that allow them to grip the limbs of trees. Meanwhile, their fan-shaped front teeth make it easier to extract gum from tree trunks. Females forage in small groups, but males prefer to do so alone.
For more information about animals in the Central African Republic, check out these guides:
- 6 COMMON Types of Snakes Found in the Central African Republic
- 33 Amazing ANIMALS to see in Central African Republic! (ID guide w/ pics)
Which of these monkeys in the Central African Republic is your favorite?
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