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Red-tailed Monkey

Scientific name; Cercopithecus ascanius

Nakabugo (a Red tailed Monkey in Uganda) was rescued in Kampala and taken to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre on 6 September 2001. She was approximately 1 year old at the time. At the moment, she is temporarily housed in a small enclosure, awaiting the construction of a new, more naturalistic enclosure.
This red-tailed monkey is fed four times daily on a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs, sugar cane, millet porridge and posho.

The annual cost of feeding her is around Ush 700,000 (US$ 400). There are also additional costs for vaccinations against tetanus, measles, polio and rabies, as well as veterinary treatment and care when needed.

How to Identify a Red-tailed monkey

Red-tailed monkeys are also known as red-tailed guenons, and are considered to be a member of the guenon group of monkeys.
They are small and agile, weighing between 2 and 6kg and with a head to body length of between 41 and 48cm. The males are slightly larger and heavier than the females.

They are easily distinguished amongst similar species, by the spot of white on their nose, white, elaborate cheek fur and red tails. Their faces tend to be black, but are bluish around the eyes. Their coat is speckled with a yellowish brown colour with paler under parts and grey legs.

Where to find Red tailed Monkeys

Mostly arboreal, the red-tailed monkey lives in mature rain forests and secondary growth forest amongst the middle canopy layer in the trees.
However, they will also live in forests in mountains, lowlands, nears rivers and swamps and in thickets along lake shores.

In Africa you will find the Red-tailed monkeys living in forest areas of north-eastern and eastern Congo (Zaire), southern Uganda, western Kenya, western Tanzania and south-western Rwanda.

Within Uganda, they are found in the protected National Parks of Bwindi Impenetrable, Queen Elizabeth, Semliki and Kibale Forest.

What the Red-tailed Monkeys Eat

Red-tailed monkeys live on the fruit, flowers, flower buds, shoots, sap and leaves of a wide variety of trees and shrubs, but also include insects such as grasshoppers and ants in their diet. They forage for food in trees and shrubs, and will venture into the upper canopy of trees for fruits and flowers.
Where forests have been cleared for agriculture or food becomes scarce, red-tailed monkeys have been known to raid crops such as banana, millet, maize, bean, pumpkin, pineapple and passion fruit, and will also dig up roots of plants and vegetables.

Their main activity time is in the early morning and late evening, and in some areas they have learnt to make nocturnal raids of crops.

They feed continuously over long periods of time, but are known to rest during the middle of the day. When raiding crops they are able to fill their cheek pouches, so that a quick escape can be made and the food consumed once they reach safety.

Social Structure

The smallest groupings of red-tailed monkeys usually consist of one male and four females, but they join larger groups from time to time.
Where food is abundant they have been seen in large numbers of up to 228 individuals per square kilometer.

This seems to indicate that they have very flexible social groupings and there does not appear to be problems of territorial disputes amongst the groups and individuals.

Males are known to remain solitary for a time, until they find a new group of females to join. Females become solitary when they are old or heavily pregnant to avoid harassment by others in the group.


The female red-tailed monkeys show no physical or behavioral evidence of sexual receptiveness apart from some menstrual bleeding.

Breeding appears to take place seasonally during the driest time of year and after a gestation period of between 120 to 130 days; the female gives birth to generally one infant. Offspring are born with a shaggy grey-coloured coat that becomes similar in coloration (although fainter), to the adult's coat by about 3 months.

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