Unique Species Of Africa: The Patas Monkey

The Patas Monkey is a species of ground-dwelling monkey found in parts of West and East Africa.

The Patas monkey is a ground-dwelling primate that is found in West Africa's semi-arid regions and some parts of East Africa. These monkeys tend to avoid woodlands or any forested areas and instead prefer to live in the more open ground like the savanna and the arid plains.

Physical Description

The Patas monkey is not large, and an adult grows to 33 inches in long when the tail is excluded which can measure up to 30 inches. Adult males ordinarily grow be larger than the females, and they average about 27.5 pounds while the females average 14.5 pounds. They have a shaggy fur with a white mustache and white patches in their lower regions that resemble underpants. Patas monkeys can reach running speeds of about 34 mph making them the fastest runners among the primates, a necessary adaptation considering the many predators that roam the open ground.

Social Structure

The Patas monkeys live in groups of up to 60 individuals who are mostly females and such a group contains just a single male adult for most of the year whose primary role is reproduction and fighting off threats. Juvenile male monkeys leave the group when they reach four years to join an all-male group. The females initiate much of the decisions associated with the group, and the male follow their leads. During the breeding season, all-male groups of Pata monkeys invade these units and chase away the resident male for a chance to mate with the females and to create their units, once the breeding season ends the new resident male takes over by chasing away the solitary ones.

Communication and Diet

Patas monkeys do not have sophisticated forms of communication, and they use distinct calls mostly to raise the alarm when danger is spotted, each alarm call has a distinct way of identifying different predators, the alarm raised for a leopard is not the same as the alarm raised for a snake. Patas are aggressive when faced with danger, having no trees to run to they are usually forced to face their predators and on many occasions, they do fight them. Patas monkeys feed on tubers, seeds, insects, and tree gum, and their small stature does not require too much food, an evolutionary adaptation that has helped them survive the harsh conditions of their semi-arid habitats

Interesting Patas Monkey Facts

Patas monkeys have a lifespan of 17 years in the wild, while in captivity they have been known to live for up to 24 years. After birth, the infant is carried around by the mother for seven months, toddlers start walking with the mother at the age of three months. However, 26% of the infants never make it past their first year of life due to infanticide, predation, and the death or kidnapping of their parent by another group. Patas monkeys are diurnal, and they spent most of their day foraging for food from morning till sunset with small breaks in the middle of the day. At night, the monkeys sleep in the trees, but they never sleep on the same tree for two consecutive nights due to the high risk of predation in their habitat.

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