I thought we could go out and find some very cool monkeys today. I think most kids and adults love monkeys. A lot of people come here looking to buy a plush monkey friend, probably because monkeys are just so cute and fun. So, let’s find out about a species of monkey that lives in the rainforest.
If we go to the rainforest in Southeast Asia we may be lucky enough to find some Gibbon Monkeys. There are 13 different species of Gibbons but, they all have something’s in common.
I hope you are good at climbing trees because these monkeys stay in the tree tops most of the time. They stay high in the trees to stay away from predators that may want to eat them.
If I was a gibbon monkey, I would stay far away from any other animal that might think I was lunch. EEEKKK!
During the day the gibbon monkeys spend most of their time up in the trees. They have very long arms and hands. These 2 things are why they can swing from tree to tree by swinging on vines and branches so well. If 2 tree branches are a ways apart, these little guys can leap about 30 feet to the next tree. They can really get around the forest fast. They can swing from tree to tree at about 35 miles per hour. That is probably faster than cars drive through your neighborhood. Glad they can’t get speeding tickets in the forest. Gibbons can also be seen walking across small branches. They look like they are a circus performer walking on a tight rope.
Gibbons do come down to the forest floor at times. They just are not safe down there. Their arms and bodies are long and slender so, they are not good at walking upright. When they do walk on only 2 feet, they normally hold their arms up over their heads to help them balance. If you see them walking like this, it might look like someone has told them to “stick em up”. Sometimes they will put their hands on the ground and swing their legs instead of walking like we humans would.
Gibbons live in families of 1 mom (female), 1 dad (male), with their younger kids (offspring). The momma monkey is pretty much the queen of her family. She is, dominate, the one in charge. Hey, that is how my house was; my mom was in charge of keeping everything and everyone in line. Now, most human kids will live with their parents until they are about 18 years old while the Gibbons monkeys will be mature enough to leave home and go out on their own by about 8 years old.
Families each have a piece of the forest that they claim as their own. This is usually about 45 acres, which is about 33 football fields.
At night the family climbs as high as they can in the trees. These monkeys sleep sitting up. They tuck their head in their lap, pull their knees towards their chest, and wrap their long arms around their knees. They stay very quiet until morning. They sure don’t want anyone or any other animal to know where they are while they sleep. That all changes as soon as they wake up. The family starts their day being very noisy. They make sounds that some people say sounds like singing. This is to let all the other monkeys know that they are there and warn others to stay out of their yard. They can be heard as far as a mile away. Some types of Gibbons can be heard 2 miles away. I wouldn’t recommend you trying this at your house, it might just make your family and neighbors really grumpy.
During their day they go out foraging for food. They eat both plants and meat. Most of their food is fruit but, they also eat leaves, baby plants, seeds, insects, birds and bird eggs. That sounds a lot like what you may eat. Except, I hope you don’t eat too many insects. Bugs are not something I plan on eating anytime soon, I’ll leave them for the monkeys. Gibbons are like any other animal and they need to drink water. They will dip their hand into water and then lick the water off of their fur. If they can’t find a puddle of water they will rub their hands on wet leaves and then suck the water off their hands. When they can, they will hang over the water so, they can keep ahold of a tree branch in case they need to get away fast. They always need to be on the lookout for danger and they need an escape plan. These monkeys can’t swim so, they sure don’t go getting in water by choice.
Another thing these cool animals do during the day is to groom each other. Yes, they help clean the hair of their other family members. Maybe your mom or older brother or sister might help brush your hair but, that is usually as far as family grooming goes in humans.
So how big are full grown Gibbons?
They are about 3 feet tall and only weigh about 15 pounds. They are not very big but, are super good at avoiding larger animals. And just so you know, they don’t have a tail.
Out in the wild a Gibbon can live to be 25-30 years old. That is if they are fast enough to stay away from predators and they can find enough food.
So there you have it. Next time you go out in the forest you will know what to look for when hunting the Gibbons monkey. I wouldn’t worry about seeing them in a forest near your house, unless you live near the Southeast Asia rainforest. Most people also don’t have them for pets since they really need a special lifestyle that most people just can’t give them. I know my house is not nearly big enough, I don’t have enough trees in my yard, and the early morning singing would just not work out so well. I guess that is why people who want a Gibbons of their own just get a plush animal instead of the real live monkey.
Ok, until next time…keep on swinging your fuzzy wuzzy self!