What kinds of monkeys live in the Ivory Coast?
If you visit the Ivory Coast, 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!
11 monkey species that live in the Ivory Coast:
#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 Ivory Coast!
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. 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 Ivory Coast 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.
#4. Lesser Spot-nosed Monkey
- Cercopithecus petaurista
Also known as the Lesser White-nosed Guenon.
- Adults are 100-120 cm (39-47 in) long and have 61 cm (24 in) long tails.
- As their name implies, they have prominent white fur on their noses.
- Light-colored tufts of fur cover their cheeks.
- Their undersides are cream, though the rest of their coats are brown and gray.
Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys inhabit forests and scrublands in the Ivory Coast. They travel in groups of 20-30. With birds of prey circling overhead and leopards lurking on the ground, caution is a way of life for these monkeys. When a male spots a predator, you’ll hear a loud cat-like purr to alert others.
Sometimes, Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys mingle with other species. They work together to spot danger and deter intruders. A juvenile male leaves his group for a new one once he’s mature enough. On the other hand, females stay with their original troops for life, acting as group caretakers.
#5. Olive Colobus
- Procolobus verus
Also known as the Green Colobus or Van Beneden’s Colobus.
- Adults grow up to 50 cm (20 in) long.
- Their coats are gray with a brown tint, and their undersides are paler in contrast.
Olive Colobuses are a vulnerable species affected by hunting and habitat loss. Still, they persist in swamps and rainforests. Look carefully! Their coloring makes them blend well into the foliage, hidden from predators. They’re also shy creatures, often fleeing at the slightest sense of danger.
Olive Colobuses are folivores. That means they mainly eat leaves, specifically young buds and shoots. Interestingly, their stomachs can digest plant leaves that are toxic to other monkeys in the Ivory Coast!
Olive Colobuses swing across branches with impressive grace. Bands include 3-15 individuals, with males and females having multiple partners. Males occasionally mate with another species known as Diana Monkeys. Interestingly, female Olive Colobuses carry their babies around using their mouths for the first few weeks!
#6. 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 the Ivory Coast, 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.
#7. Lowe’s Monkey
- Cercopithecus lowei
Also known as Lowe’s Mona Monkey.
- Adults can grow 32-53 cm (13-21 in) in length, with 67-90 cm (26-35 in) long tails.
- Their eyes are large, rounded, and reddish brown.
- Their coats are a mix of dark brown and gray, with white underparts. They also have frames of blonde hair on their faces.
Keep an eye out for these energetic monkeys in the Ivory Coast!
Lowe’s Monkeys reside in tropical and mangrove forests, with some populations coinciding with human settlements. On average, a group of Lowe’s Monkeys will have 6-16 members, with a dominant male acting as the leader.
Lowe’s Monkeys gorge themselves on fruits during the wet seasons. Then, they switch to a diet of leaves in dry seasons. You might also see them foraging for food scraps in garbage dumps. Occasionally, they have a taste for insects and invertebrates as well.
Unfortunately, this species is often hunted and poached in its native range. Their loud vocalizations make them easy targets. Females have wider vocal ranges, but males take on the duty of alerting the group when predators are nearby. At dusk and dawn, a male Lowe’s Monkey will climb a tall tree to bellow resounding calls.
#8. West African Potto
- Perodicticus potto
Also known as the Bush Bear, Tree Bear, and Softly-softly.
- 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.
#9. Campbell’s Monkey
- Cercopithecus campbelli
Also known as Campbell’s Mona Monkey.
- Adults are 36-55 cm (14-22 in). Their tails are generally 49-85 (19-33 in) cm long.
- They have a bright yellow patch on the forehead, and their coats are a blend of black, gray, and cream.
Campbell’s Monkeys in the Ivory Coast thrive in coastal savannas, lowland forests, and swamps overgrown with mangroves. Bands of 8-10 individuals spend most of their lives high up in trees. Females have close relationships with other females, while the male that protects the group is more distant.
Campbell’s Monkeys have a wide arsenal of vocalizations to alert each other of danger. Amazingly, they can string together particular sounds to form unique sentences. The male climbs the tallest trees at dusk and dawn to issue a booming call. It’s hard to miss, even from a distance!
Campbell’s Monkeys primarily feed on fruits and insects, though they also supplement their diets with leaves. Sometimes, you’ll find them meticulously looking for bugs inside curled leaves.
#10. King Colobus
- Colobus polykomos
Also known as the Western Black-and-white Colobus.
- Adults are 45-72 cm (18-28 in) long, while their white tails are 52-100 cm (20-39 in).
- Tufts of silver-white hair frame their bare faces, extending down to their chests and shoulders.
- They have jet-black coats of hair.
Unlike most other monkeys in the Ivory Coast, these primates live on the forest floor.
King Colobuses thrive in lowland and mountainous rainforests. Their diets include fruits and flowers, but their favorite food is leaves. Interestingly, some of the leaves they eat are toxic, so they occasionally eat charcoal to detoxify their stomach walls.
A group of King Colobuses contains 1-3 adult males, 3-4 adult females, and their offspring. If you watch them closely, you’ll notice that females share closer relationships with the same sex, while males keep to themselves. They are highly territorial, and rival bands often clash where their homes overlap.
When a group of King Colobuses succeeds in defending its territory, females from the opposing group may switch sides. Naturally, they look for the strongest partners that can offer protection. Unfortunately, this means any of their infants from previous partners will be killed by the males from the new group.
#11. 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 the Ivory Coast.
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 the Ivory Coast, check out these guides:
- 7 COMMON Types of Snakes Found in the Ivory Coast
- 21 Amazing ANIMALS to see in the Ivory Coast! (ID guide w/ pics)
Which of these monkeys in the Ivory Coast is your favorite?
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