Year of the Monkey: December

Written by: Brianna Bauer
Allen’s Swamp Monkey



2016 is almost at an end, and so is the Year of the Monkey. We will be rounding out the year with one of my favorite species, Allen’s swamp monkey. Houston Zoo has two Allen’s swamp monkeys. Naku and Calvin. Let’s start with a question. What do ducks, otters, turtles, and swamp monkeys all have in common? The pictures might give you a hint. They love water and they have webbed feet! Swamp monkeys may not have fully webbed feet, like a duck, but they do have some webbing between their toes. They spend some time in the water and they can even swim! They will also dive into the water to escape from predators. The webbing in between their toes helps them swim.

This is just one example of how you can tell a lot about an animal, just by looking at it. You just have to know what to look for. So what else can we tell about a swamp monkey?

Some monkeys spend most of their time up in the trees, while others spend more time on the ground. What if I told you that you could make a pretty good guess about whether primates live in the trees or on the ground by looking at their arm to leg ratio? It can also tell you how they move around. Primates that live in the trees, but run on all fours, have legs that are slightly longer. DeBrazza’s guenons are an example of this. Orangutans and gibbons are examples of primates that live in the trees and get around by swinging from branch to branch. They have arms that are much longer than their legs. There are primates that have longer legs. These either walk around on two legs, like people, or they are tree-dwelling vertical clingers and leapers, like sifaka. Primates like swamp monkeys, that tend to live on the ground, usually have arms and legs that are about the same length. Swamp monkeys don’t spend all of their time on the ground, though, and when they do climb trees, they use their long tails to help them balance.

Swamp monkeys display what is called ‘sexual dimorphism’. This means that there are physical differences between males and females. In the case of swamp monkeys, the males are bigger than the females. The size difference suggests that males have to compete for females, or protect females from other males. Swamp monkeys live in groups consisting of multiple males and females. Primate species that tend to form monogamous pairs are more likely to have males and females that are similar in size, like gibbons or tamarins.

If you watch Calvin and Naku here at the zoo, you’ll see them both on the ground, and climbing around the exhibit. And especially when it’s hot, you might see them in the water, or just dipping their toes in. They don’t only use water to cool off, but you might also see Naku wash his food off before eating it.

Next time you’re at the zoo, walk around and take a really good look at all of the primates. What can you learn about their lifestyle, just by looking at them?



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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam. Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years.

The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/
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This morning, we humanely euthanized our male, 20-year-old jaguar, Kan Balam.  Due to the tremendous care provided to him by his keepers and our veterinary team, Kan Balam lived well beyond his expected lifespan. Jaguars expected lifespan in the wild is between 12-15 years. 
 
The carnivore staff and veterinary team made the decision after his quality of life began to decline. Quality care and continuous advances in veterinary medicine extends animals’ lives longer than ever, with most felines in human care living well beyond previous generations. Because of this, all cats, including domestic house cats and jaguars, often spend a significant phase of their lives as older animals, and are at a higher risk for geriatric complications.

Read more about Kan B, and the love his keepers had for him on our blog: https://www.houstonzoo.org/blog/mourning-loss-geriatric-jaguar-kan-balam/

 

Comment on Facebook

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur; happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr #RIP #bigbangtheory

Is this the one that had the limp?

Rest in peace, thanks Zoo for the great care! 20 years wow

My thoughts of sympathy are with you all. I can't even imagine the sadness you feel today.

Thank you to you and your staff for the years of quality care given this magnificant creature.

Hugs to all of you keepers that took special care of Kan Balam.

I know he lived a lot longer due to the excellent care he got at the Zoo.

Heartfelt condolences to the veterinary and keeper staff. Thank you for taking care of him

Katie Wilson did you see this?

My condolences to the keepers and staff. He was a beautiful animal, and we enjoyed seeing him.

Thank you for providing him with a caring and enriched life. So sorry for your loss!

I am so very sorry for all of you that loved and cared for him.

So sorry to read this. It is always a hard decision. RIP and run free sweet boy.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking such great care of him so he was able to live a long life. My thoughts are with his keepers and all who adored him. <3

Condolences to the carnivore keepers and veterinary staff.

RIP Kan & run free - condolences to the Houston zoo carnivore team 😥

RIP Kan. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

What a long, love filled life. Rest in Peace Kan💖

So sorry. He was one beautiful animal.

RIP ... My condolences to the staff ... 😥 ...

Awe :( RIP Kan Balam!! You were a beautiful soul for sure!!!

I am so so sorry, Katie Rose Buckley-Jones and sending you lots of love hugs and prayers. ❤️🙏🏻

Katie Rose Buckley-Jones I won’t ever forget the time you asked him to bring something and he ripped off a piece of cardboard and tried to hand it to you ❤️ thank you for introducing me to him. Sending you guys many hugs

Sorry to hear about your loss Katie ❤️

Carmen, Cynthia, Claudia was he out when y’all went?

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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: I'm still using this.
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Social Media Guy to Sea Lion Keeper: Can you send me a pic of you working with the sea lions in this chilly weather?

Sea Lion Keeper: Sure... (sends picture next to sea lion statue)

SMG: Im still using this.

 

Comment on Facebook

Are there some zoo animals that enjoy this weather?

SMG is another reason why Houston Zoo is the best Zoo!

Happy New Year “sea lion keeper “ 💖💖

More snow for TJ and Max ❤️ lucky them!

Are we positive that’s the statue rather than it really just being that cold? 😛

That’s my best friend Sophie for ya! 😂

Brrrrr

Omg the Zoo is so awesome 😂😂😂 Alana Berry

Omg be warm sweetoe

Haha!! Good one!

Sweetie 💞

Ashley Jucker 😂

Mike DePope

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We've heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing? ... See MoreSee Less

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Weve heard of stalagmites but is stalagmice a thing?

 

Comment on Facebook

Ok, it took me a minute to get this. I was literally zooming in to try to find the mouse. 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄😂

Cindy Christina Angela Ramirez see I told y’all! Lol

Andrew Kaufmann Look its Richard Jr! 😂

Wow ... good photo shot ... show the world that you need to protect your pipe ... if not, freezing water will expand the pipe and crack the pipe !!!

“Baby it’s cold outside!”

I fell for the mouse thing too..

That's nothing! Talk to keepers from the northern states or Canada!

i was honestly looking for a mouse lol

Johnnie R. Summerlin, cool, see the "stalagm ice"?

Wow,that is so neat!

Annecia Wesley but where is the ice bacon? Lol

Two words. Pipe insulation.

That’s awesome!

Ana Rivers Smith cool!

Cortez

Pauline Ervin

Denise Daigre

Ashley Nguyen

Vicente Gonzalez

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