|The colobus monkey is a shy, forest dwelling
primate. Three different species have similar lifestyles. Only the patterns
of their coats distinguish them. There are three species of colobus monkey,
black and white, red and olive. The black and white colobus is the
most striking of the. Its long, white mantle and shinny black coat was
once sought after by both African tribes and fashionable Europeans.
Habits: Colobus monkeys live in dense forest and spend most of their time in the trees. They live in groups, m the size varying according to the species: about five black and white colobus, 15 to 60 red colobus, and 10 to 15 of the olive species. An old male leads each group. Colobus monkeys are territorial and defend their area with threatening calls and fierce displays. Group members spend most of their time in the center of the territory, swinging from branch to branch in the trees where they sleep and eat.
Breeding: The female mates with several different makes when she is in heat (ready to mate). She leaves the group just before giving birth, returning a later with her tiny offspring. For the first few days she holds the baby in her arms, but after two weeks it is strong enough to cling to her back as she swings through the trees. The olive colobus mother, however, carries her newborn baby in her mouth and transfers it to her back after several weeks. This is because the fur of this species is short, making it more difficult for the baby to grasp. The baby is weaned at seven months, but after six weeks it begins to eat leaves and spend more time with youngsters it own age. The young colobus monkeys are very playful. The colobus eats, sleeps, and plays in the trees, rarely touching the ground. A young colobus clings to its mother, gripping her fur with its strong hands.
Predators: Apart from people, the main predators of the colobus monkey are leopards and eagles. Although it can move quickly, the monkey hides instead of fleeing from danger; its coat provides excellent camouflage for it in the dense forest. The fur and long plumes of the colobus were once used as ceremonial head dresses by African tribes. Although it is no longer hunted on a large scale, the colobus monkey is threatened by loss of its habitat.
Food and Feeding: Leaves are the main diet of the colobus monkey. It also eats fruit, bark, flowers, and occasionally, insects. Most species spend all their time in the trees, although the olive colobus monkey sometimes feeds on the ground.
When feeding, the monkey sits on a branch and pulls twigs toward it, ripping off the leaves with its mouth . Sometimes it uses its hands to eat. The colobus monkey has a three chambered stomach that allows it to digest coarse leaves. The black and white colobus monkey is born with a white coat and spends the first few weeks in its mothers arms.
Key Facts: Sizes, Breeding, Lifestyle, Related Species, Distribution, Conservation:
Body Length: 1 1/2 - 2 1/2ft
Four species of Black and White Colobus Monkey:
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