Green Monkey

Green Monkey

Sabaeus monkey, Callithrix monkey

Chlorocebus sabaeus
Population size
Life Span
17-30 yrs
3.4-8 kg
300-600 mm

The Green monkeys belong to the genus Chlorocebus, along with five other species. As a matter of fact, the Chlorocebus species are sometimes considered to be subspecies rather than separate species. They are medium-sized Old World monkeys. These primates are so called due to a green tingle in their golden fur. Their long and slender tails are semi-prehensile. The Green monkeys exhibit hairless, dark blue face with white outline.


The natural range of this species in restricted to West Africa, stretching from Senegal to the Volta River. Introduced populations of Green monkeys occur on the Cape Verde islands off north-western Africa as well as West Indian islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, and Barbados. The suitable habitat for these primates is woodland. They can be found in a variety of woodlands from extremely dry Sahel woodlands to edges of rainforests. Additionally, some Green monkeys inhabit coastal areas and their diet consists of seashore foods.

Green Monkey habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

The Green monkeys are very social animals, living in groups of 20 - 50 animals. As in most Old World monkeys, these groups have stable and temporary members. The core of each group is made up of multiple families, which in turn consist of closely related mature females with their young. When reaching maturity, young males leave to join another group, whereas females continue living with their natal group. When trying to join a new group, these young males often face aggression from its members. Hence, they prefer associating with peers or their maternal brothers. Males often move between groups several times throughout their lives. Although territorial species, the Green monkeys don't tend engage in serious confrontations. These primates are diurnal creatures. Activity peaks occur in the early morning and late afternoon. The Green monkeys are generally terrestrial, but may occasionally sleep in trees. Additionally, they are known to find refuge in trees when threatened.

Diet and Nutrition

As omnivorous animals, the Green monkeys feed upon food of both plant and animal origin. They generally consume fruits, flowers, seeds, seedpods, leaves, grasses and roots, supplementing this diet with insects, small reptiles as well as birds and their eggs. These primates are also known to favor invertebrates and particularly, crabs.

Mating Habits

163-165 days
1 infant
1 year

The Green monkeys have a polygynous mating system, which is controlled by the dominant male of the group. This alpha male controls all interactions between mating individuals. Pairs are usually formed only with his permission. The breeding season lasts from April to June. A single infant is born after a gestation period of around 163 - 165 days. The infant gradually gains independence as it ages. Usually, the mother will carry the baby only if the latter is threatened or when the group travels. And finally, at one year old, the young monkey is completely weaned and independent. The age of reproductive maturity is 5 years old in males and 2 years old in females.


Population threats

The Green monkeys are not threatened with extinction, but these animals still suffer from a number of factors such as ongoing hunting, trapping and destruction of their natural habitat. As a result, populations in some areas sharply decrease.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Green monkey is common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. However, according to the Hubpages resource, the population size of the Green monkeys in Barbados is about 14,000 individuals. Overall, the population of this species remains stable today, and the animal classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

Due to their frugivorous diet, the Green monkeys may act as seed dispersers of the plants they feed upon. The abundance of these monkeys within their range makes them a key prey species for African cats, birds of prey, baboons and other predators of the area.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • In the end of 17th century, slave trade ships traveled between the Caribbean and West Africa. During this period, the Green monkeys were introduced to the West Indies.
  • These highly vocal animals communicate with each other through a variety of calls. For example, troop members associate by means of creaking cries and staccato barks. Additionally, these monkeys use separate alarm calls for each predator, including snakes as well as avian and mammalian predators.
  • Newborn babies of this species exhibit olive green and yellow color pattern. Due to lack of hairs, their body appears to be blue. However, their coat thickens and gradually turns to brownish-grey, as the infants age.
  • Green monkey is known to be an excellent swimmer.
  • These primates cache and carry food in their mouth pouches.


1. Green Monkey Wikipedia article -
2. Green Monkey on The IUCN Red List site -

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About