Peculiar Appearance: 10 Weird Looking Monkeys


Everybody knows monkeys, but what about the ones with peculiar appearances? We are talking about some weird-looking monkeys out there that make you go “what the heck?” when seeing one. Are you ready to see some of these weird monkeys? Let’s take a look at our list below and let us know which one you think is the weirdest.

1Bald Uakari

No matter what angle you try to look from, the face of a bald uakari will be the first thing you spot. The red color on their face is the result of a lack of skin pigments but more capillaries under the facial tissue. This facial color is actually a part to attract mates because red faces mean healthy. The ones who are sick have pale faces, and others tend to avoid them. The bright crimson face along with a bald head is not the only unique features of this New World monkey.

These monkeys have strong fangs that they use to break open thick fruit skins. Since their favorite habitats are areas with aguaje palm trees, those fangs are quite useful. Female bald uakari gives birth to just a single infant every two years which is different from most primates. This is one of the reasons why their population is not growing fast. These weird-looking monkeys are also facing threats such as habitat destructions and illegal hunting.

2Colobus Monkey

Despite the fact that these are Old World monkeys, not many of us are familiar with them. The colobus monkeys are native to Africa, and their black and fur colors are their main features. These monkeys are small, and they have a U-shaped mantle of long white color descending from their shoulders, covering their backs. At the same time, their beard, bushy tail, and whiskers are also white which makes a nice contrast with their black fur.

As for their name, it derives from the Greek word that means “mutilated” because these monkeys don’t have opposable thumbs. While most monkeys out there are aggressive or playful, this one is on the chilling side. They spend most of their time hanging out high up there in the forest canopy and grooming one another. Today, their main threat is habitat loss while hunting was the cause before. The huntings were done by both humans (for fur) and chimpanzees (food diet supplementary).

3De Brazza’s Monkey

image: Max Pixel

The De Brazza’s monkeys are large Old World monkeys native to the swamp forests and wetlands of Central Africa. Also known as swamp monkeys, these monkeys are easy to notice because of their orange crescent-shaped diadem and white beard. These large territorial primates are arboreal, but they also dwell in water and on the ground sometimes. Besides humans, their predators are African eagles, leopards, and other primates.

Just like most intelligent primates out there, this one is also quite fascinating. They are great swimmers, and they use all 4 legs when they move, unlike some other monkeys. The interesting thing about them is their defense mechanism: Freeze. When threatened, they will climb onto trees and remain motionless until the threat is gone. Because of their excellent hiding abilities, their actual species count remains unknown although this species is considered the Least Concern.

4Emperor Tamarin

image: Max Pixel

Probably reminds you of your science teacher or your grandfather, the emperor tamarin is one spectacular monkey with a peculiar appearance. Also, it has a pink mouth and nose, and of course, a graceful mustache. You can tell right away by the elegant long white whiskers that look exactly like mustaches. This mustache resembles a German emperor Wilhelm II, hence its name.

Do female emperor tamarin has a mustache? Yes, both genders generally look alike. Even the young tamarins also have mustaches but shorter and smaller in size. This unique-looking monkey is rather small in size, and it weighs only around 1 pound. Another cool thing about them is that they normally give birth to twins, but single birth and triples are also common.

5Francois’ Langur

Admittedly, many of us look just like Francois’ langurs when we wake up in the morning. This might not be the extreme level of weird-looking monkeys, but this look should be on the list. These monkeys have very distinct white sideburns down from their ears to the corners of their cheeks. And the hair on top of their heads always stands that which looks quite funny. In a group of Francois’ langurs, the female is a leader and other females share responsibilities within the group. The males within the group don’t raise the young, and the young males leave the group before reaching sexual maturity. These monkeys avoid predators by living and sleeping in limestone caves and cliffs that are far from flat land.


image: Nik Borrow

These Old World monkeys are large and robust which is why people thought they were baboons. A gelada’s body is covered with dark brown coarse hair, and the males have a long heavy capes on their backs. Sometimes they are called “Bleeding-Heart Monkeys” due to the hourglass-shaped red patch of skin on their chest. In dominant males, the chest patch is brighter which attracts more attention from the females.

The geladas are the most terrestrial primates in the world, only found in the Ethiopian Highlands, especially in the Semien Mountains. Their short and stumpy fingers allow them to climb steep rocky cliffs without a problem. Those strong fingers are also beneficial to their eating habits. During the days, they spend most of their time sitting down, plucking, and feeding on grasses and herbs. When the night comes, they drop over precipice edges to sleep together on the ledges.

7Golden Lion Tamarin

image: Max Pixel

The name says it all, golden color with lion manes. There are only 4 species of lion tamarin, and this golden species here is the most attractive of them all. A golden lion tamarin has orange fur while its forepaws and tail are brown. This golden monkey species is small, and they spend most of their life in the trees. The unique things that make them one of weird-looking monkeys are not their faces. Golden lion tamarin has backward big toes, and their thumbs are not fully opposable. These features do not exist in other monkeys which is why they are among the peculiar ones.

8Proboscis Monkey

image: Max Pixel

You can never confuse this monkey with another, and we all know why. The proboscis monkeys or long-nosed monkeys are Old World monkeys native to the jungles of Borneo island. These weird-looking monkeys have unusually large and long noses along with a long tail. In this species, the fleshy pendulous noses are the main features to attract mates. Only the males have this unique nose, and it can grow to be as long as 10 centimeters (4 inches).

Their noses are not the only fascinating thing about them, these arboreal monkeys have more to show. Since they live in coastal mangroves, rivers, and swamps, their swimming ability is incredible. In fact, these monkeys have webbed feet and hands that allow them to adapt to their habits and habitats. Currently, their population is decreasing due to habitat fragmentation and hunting for use in Chinese medicine purposes.

9Red Shanked Douc

Here you are looking at the most colorful monkeys among all primate species in the world. With the combination of 5 colors in total, the red-shanked doucs are one of a beautiful kind. These monkeys have a yellow-orange face with powder-blue eyelids along with dark eyes. Their forearms are white, and the belly and back are gray. As for the upper legs are either black or gray while the lower legs are deep red in color. Both their hands and feet are black, and their whiskers and tail are white.

Since they are social animals, these weird-looking monkeys live in groups of 4 to 15 or even 50. These colorful primates can leap from up to 6 meters (20 feet) from one branch to another. When disturbed, they can flee soundlessly through the trees. The red-shanked douc are arboreal animals, and they only come to the ground to drink water or eat dirt. Hunting is their major threat, and they are now an endangered species.

10White-Faced Saki

image: Max Pixel

The list of the weird-looking monkeys is incomplete without the presence of the white-faced saki, and you can see why. Because of sexual dimorphism, the males and females look different from one another but both are peculiar. The males are black in overall coloration with a reddish-white face, forehead, and throat. Meanwhile, the females have lighter coats with bright patches from each eye to the chin. These monkeys are monogamous, and they live together forever.

In spite of the strange appearance, this monkey is quite strong thanks to their powerful body and strong leg muscles. The white-faced sakis are excellent jumpers, and their long legs allow them to leap 9 meters (30 feet) between branches. Another interesting thing about them is the alarm calls that they produce when in danger of predators. Their calls are so loud, and they echo from one to another before forming a group to ward off the predators. This action is known as “Mobbing”, and it is effective with both land and sky predators.

Related Post: Most Dangerous Primates