Year of the Monkey: November
Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey
By Dena Honeycutt; photos by Houston Zoo staff
One of my favorite monkeys is the Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey. They share the exhibit in WWP with Allen’s swamp monkeys. There are a lot of cool things about the red-tails including the following:
1. White nose – Most primates have coloration to aid them in concealing themselves from predators, so not sure the purpose of the white nose, other than it makes them really cute. They are not born with a white nose, but by 6 months they have adult coloration.
2. Long red tail – Interestingly enough, like the white nose, they are not born with red on their tail. Their long tails aid them in balancing on vines and branches (and ropes in the exhibit). I enjoy watching them navigate the ropes and seeing their tails switching back and forth to help them keep balance. They are much better at it than the swamp monkeys (who share the exhibit with them) who have a much shorter tail.
3. Cheek pouches – gives all new meaning to “all you can eat buffet”! This is a fun adaptation, since they are not at the top of the food chain in the wild, sometimes they need to grab food and run, so they can store food in their cheeks to eat later. In captivity, where they don’t need to worry about predators, they still will use cheek pouches to store food, so they can grab favorite foods when the dominant animal isn’t looking and eat it later.