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|A Barbary Macaque monkey (Macaca sylvanus)|
|Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys.|
Monkeys are arboreal mammals in the primate order. Apes are the descendants of Old World monkeys. Monkeys are clever, social animals who are famous for climbing trees easily. Almost every monkey has a tail, even if it is very short.
Some monkeys live in trees, others live on the ground. Different primate families eat fruit, leaves, insects, flowers, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, crabs or even other monkeys. They can be kept as pets but due to their high intelligence and advanced emotional needs are not suggested. Monkeys can live in forests, savannahs, deserts and even in snowy mountains, but they are most commonly found in rainforests, except for Australia and New Guinea.
A group of monkeys is called a "troop" of monkeys or a "tribe" of monkeys.
Some monkeys are very small, about 15 centimetres (6 in) long and 120 grams (4.2 oz) in weight, while other monkeys can be very big, about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long and 35 kilograms (77 lb) in weight.
Where they live
There are two groups of monkeys that live in different places: the New World Monkeys in South America and the Old World Monkeys from Africa and Asia. New World Monkeys are often smaller than Old World Monkeys. Monkeys have long arms and legs to help them swing from trees. Some monkeys' tails can wrap tightly around branches, almost like a "fifth limb". This type of tail is prehensile. Most monkeys are arboreal (live in the trees), but some live on the ground.
The smallest known monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset. It is about 14-16cm in size (without the tail). It weighs about 120 grams. It lives in the treetops of rainforests in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. The largest known monkey is the Mandrill. It can grow to about 1 m in size. Adults weigh up to 35 kg. The monkeys often climb with the help of their tails.
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- "The Impossible Housing and Handling Conditions of Monkeys in Research Laboratories", by Viktor Reinhardt, International Primate Protection League, August 2001
- The Problem with Pet Monkeys: Reasons Monkeys Do Not Make Good Pets, an article by veterinarian Lianne McLeod on About.com
- Helping Hands: Monkey helpers for the disabled, a U.S. national non-profit organization based in Boston Massachusetts that places specially trained capuchin monkeys with people who are paralyzed or who live with other severe mobility impairments