How Do Monkeys Defend Themselves?

monkeys-defend-themselves Credit: Kathrin Gaißer/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Monkeys defend themselves in a variety of ways that vary from one species to the next. Most rely on a combination of living in social groups, fleeing threats by climbing in the trees and emitting vocalizations that warn others in the group of impending danger. Some species engage in physical combat when threatened, while others are more likely to flee predators and other threats.

The males of many monkey species are much larger than the females. These larger males, who are often greatly outnumbered by females living in the troop, are better equipped to fight with predators than the smaller females are. In fact, protecting the troop is one of their most important jobs. Many monkeys, including the tiny pygmy marmosets, fight tenaciously to protect themselves and the members of their troops.

Some species, such as baboons, are able to frighten threatening animals away by barring their long canine teeth. However, if intimidation does not work, the baboons also fight to defend themselves.

Baboons and other monkeys are primarily diurnal, which causes them to be vulnerable to predators at night. To help protect themselves while they sleep, monkeys often sleep in trees or on cliffs. This limits the ways in which a predator can approach them and increases the chances that they will notice the predator in time to fight or escape.