- These monkeys live at the San Diego Zoo. They are very comfortable hanging out in the tops of trees. To a human being, the tops of trees are precarious! People come to the zoo and watch as the monkeys move across high branches. Sometimes they make dramatic leaps from one tree to the other. Or, the leaps seem dramatic to people. To the monkeys, they are just moving around.
Monkeys come in many sizes. The smallest monkeys are 5-6 inches long and the largest
monkeys are 3.3 feet long. The smallest monkeys weigh only 4-5 ounces while the largest monkeys can weigh 77 pounds. Monkeys eat fruit, leaves, nuts, eggs, flowers, leaves, insects and small animals. Monkeys are known for their elaborate thinking. They know about seasonal fruits, and they sometimes use sticks as tools to dig for insects.
Most monkeys are arboreal. That means they live in trees. All monkeys hold onto branches with their hands and feet. Only some monkeys have the kind of tail that can hold onto branches. The tail has ridges on the underside and is very flexible so that they can hold onto something as small as a twig. These tails help monkeys hold on tightly while they collect food in trees, like fruit and nuts. Monkeys have very limber bodies and get into many positions while moving through the trees.
- Scientists group monkeys by where they live. Old world monkeys like in Africa and Asia. New World monkeys live in Mexico, Central America and South America.