What Do Monkeys Eat?

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Wild monkeys eat a varied diet that consists of roots, insects, fruits and herbs. Captive monkeys are typically fed a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, as well as monkey chow, a dry food that is fortified with vitamins, minerals and protein.

The diet of a monkey varies depending on species. For example, the diet of the East African verve monkey consists of flowers, bulbs, bark and roots, but the verve monkey also supplements its diet with eggs and rodents. Owl monkeys that reside in the rain forest are night eaters that consume a diet of leaves, fruits and insects. Red colobus monkeys eat mostly leaves and are known to eat from over 60 different types of plants. Langur monkeys are also primarily leaf-eaters.

Monkeys are classified into two distinct groups. New World primates are monkeys that live in South and Central America, while Old World primates live in Asia and Africa. New World primates have tails with grasping abilities, but do not possess opposable thumbs. Most Old World primates have opposable thumbs, but their tails are typically functionless or nonexistent. New World monkey species include the squirrel monkey, spider monkey, emperor tamarin and the night monkey. Old World monkey species include langurs, golden snub-nose, mandrill, drill, colobus and patas.