Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am not really a fan of the monkey. I think most people who say they like them haven’t really given it much thought. When I was 11 and lived in Costa Rica, I hadn’t come to my senses yet and still thought I liked them. (I blame Tarzan.) One day there were some guys across the street from our house that had a monkey on a leash. I rushed over to say hi. Everyone knows that monkeys are just like people and friendly, right? I was scratched and lucky not to be bitten. It was my own version of a Santa Claus moment.

That being said there are some neat primates when seen from a distance:

13. Orangutans (species from the genus Pongo)

The first genus on my list of 13 is a good example of what sort of admiration I have for this part of creation. I find orangutans to be fascinating in a disgusting kind of way. If you ever get the chance to see the ones at the national zoo in D.C. do so.

12. Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

I suspect these guys chatter in a way reminiscent of Jimmy Durante.

11. Bald uakari (Cacjao calvus)

These monkeys would make an excellent alien monastic order in a Sci-Fi film.

10. Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae)

The smallest of all primates, they are less than 10 cm long. I read that they can live for 18 years in captivity. How cool would it be to have one of these for a pet? (Well, 18 years is a bit of a commitment.)

9. Gorillas (various species from the genus Gorilla)

Visually, these are the coolest apes. I suspect, based on all the ones I have observed in zoos over the years, that they are deep, deep thinkers.

8. Black-and-white Ruffed lemur (Varecia variegate)

Or any other Lemur really. They remind me of squirrels only more visually impressive and with more interesting behavior. The Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in the Dresden Zoo are in a habitat that visitors get to really visit. It is cool.

7. White-faced saki (Pithecia pithecia)

One of several species that just look cool. Who knows if they are as interesting to observe as they are to see?

6. Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus)

Another impressive looking monkey.

5. The lion tamarins (Genus Leontopithecus)

Very similar to number 6 only more color and they are a new world species. With monkeys new world is preferable to old.

4. Grey Slender loris (Loris lydekkerianus)

One of those species that look like they were created for an alien world.

3. Lar gibbon (Hylobates lar)

Or just about any gibbon, especially the Siamang. (Symphalangus syndactylus) These are the coolest of the apes. They are a joy to watch.

2. Pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea)

The smallest of the monkeys. New World, cool look, fun to watch behavior.

1. Colobus monkeys (Genus Colobus)

For some reason I have always liked these monkeys best of all. Strange, as they are old world monkeys.

(Photos from Wikipedia, except the mouse lemur from Mammals' Planet)

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