Physical Characteristics of the Sun Tailed Monkey

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The sun-tailed monkey is a newly discovered monkey that was noticed in 1984. It has a tail that is the color of the sun, and this is what gives the monkey its unique name. The males are slightly larger than the females. An adult male can weigh up to 6.9 kilograms, and the females 3.9 kilograms. The sun-tailed monkey is native to West Africa. They have dark gray coats with very long tails that are light in color with yellow-orange tips. The rest of the tail is white or speckled gray. These unique monkeys like to live in hilly areas of evergreen forests that are located close to rivers and streams.

The sun-tailed monkey is a vulnerable species and in the wild they are facing risks of becoming extinct.  Humans like to hunt them with snares and guns. The sun-tailed monkey bobs its head up and down when it feels threatened. They can reduce aggression by clenching their teeth. This species of monkey is also called sun-tailed guenon. This African monkey can be easily distinguished from other monkeys because of the color of its tail. The sun-tailed monkey is also called a Gabon Monkey, after the country it is found in. These are medium-sized monkeys that have cheek pouches that help them to carry their food while they forage.

When their young are born, their skin has little pigmentation. Their young's tails begin to turn yellow-orange by 11 weeks old. This is also the time when their skin gains its black color and their hair begins to darken. This species of monkey also likes to eat seeds, plants and insects. They move along the ground and leap from tree to tree. They hold their bodies in vertical positions. They can avoid potential predators by walking through grassy areas.

This species of monkey likes to rest and sleep in groups. This only happens 10 to 15 meters above the ground, to avoid predators. Their group sizes include about 17 individuals. The sun-tailed monkey is a diurnal species. Sometimes they make long daily journeys. This is because of their diet and large home range size. If food is not plentiful, then a long journey is often in the make. The sun-tailed monkey is a very attractive species, and what draws most of its attention is nothing but the tail itself. Since this is one of the newly discovered monkeys, it is still being observed, studied and researched.

More about this author: Shannon Farlouis

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