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Dusky leaf monkey, Southeast Asia, up 80 cm (30 inches) long Monkeys are primates, usually with long tails and with nails instead of claws. There are Old World monkeys (from Europe, Africa or Asia) and New World monkeys (from the Americas). Most live in trees although some monkeys come down to feed or to travel. Monkeys feed on fruit, leaves, insects and other small creatures, but some large monkeys, such as baboons, will also kill young gazelles. All monkeys have forward-facing eyes for stereoscopic vision.


Getting around

The spider monkey of the Central and South American rainforests has a prehensile tail.Most monkeys live in trees, although some spend time on the ground feeding, while baboons live on the ground all the time. Baboons may walk for long distances on all fours. When in the trees, monkeys leap or swing from branch to branch. Most monkeys of Central and South America, known as New World monkeys, have prehensile tails. This means they can use their tails like an extra limb, to grasp on to branches and even hang, leaving their hands free to feed.

There are around 230 species of monkey.

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