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Swamp Monkey


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Allenopithecus nigroviridis
Class: Mammal
Length: 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 centimeters)
Tail length: 19 to 20 inches (48 to 50 centimeters)
Weight: 7 to 13 pounds (3.2 to 5.9 kilograms)
Life span: about 23 years
Gestation: 5 to 6 months
Number of offspring: 1 at a time
Size at birth: 8 ounces (226 grams)
Age of maturity: 3 to 5 years
Conservation status: Near threatened



Hanging around the swamp

Swamp monkeys live in the trees of swamp and riverbank forests mainly in the Congo and Western Zaire in Africa.

A casual eater

These monkeys forage for fruit and leaves on the ground and browse in shallow water for fish and insects. At the zoo, we feed swamp monkeys a commercial primate biscuit and vegetables.

Powerful primate

Strong and stocky, the swamp monkey is covered in gray to almost black fur, but sometimes they have a yellowish or greenish tinge. Their facial skin is grayish-brown and it is lighter around the eyes. The swamp monkey’s toes and fingers are webbed for better movement in the water. Males are much larger than females. Thin and wiry young are extremely active, bouncing between branches while their larger and less active parents look on.

Living above the swamp

Swamp monkeys are arboreal (live in the trees) and diurnal (active during the day). They live in groups of up to forty individuals in swamp forests. Each group includes several adult males. They communicate with gestures and calls. Males emit a deep, throaty croak.

Born in the bog

Single births are most common for swamp monkeys. The females bear young, which are weaned (when the baby is no longer dependent on the mother’s milk) in approximately three months. Once weaned, young swamp monkeys will begin eating fruits, leaves, beetles and worms. They are mature in 3-5 years.

A primate with paddles?

Swamp monkeys are good swimmers, and their webbed toes help them paddle in the water. To escape predators such as the crowned hawk eagle, various large snakes, and pygmy chimpanzees, they may dive into the water.


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