Patas monkey

Patas monkey

Erythrocebus patas

Common name:

Patas monkey

Scientific name:

Erythrocebus patas

Alternative common names:


Patas monkeys have a greyhound-like build with a narrow body, long legs for quadrupedal locomotion and a prominent rib cage. Their coat is reddish and shaggy. As fruit eaters it is likely that patas monkeys help to disperse seeds.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Sub-Saharan Africa from the western tip of Senegal to East Africa.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1a in KwaZulu-Natal; 1b elsewhere.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?


How does it spread?

Some are artificially introduced for research purposes. They also travel long distances over land. When disturbed, they will either flee over land or move into tall trees for safety.

Why is it a problem?

Patas monkeys frequently raid crops, stealing millet, bananas, peanuts and wheat. They also compete with other terrestrial primates of the savannah.

What does it look like?

Description: The patas monkey grows to 85cm in length, excluding the tail, which measures 75cm. Adult males are considerably larger than adult females. Reaching a speed of 55km/h, it is the fastest runner among the primates.

Habitat: The patas monkey avoids dense woodlands and lives in more open savannah and semi-deserts. It has a remarkably high reproductive rate, perhaps as an evolutionary response to the high adult mortality rates associated with its strongly terrestrial lifestyle.

Breeding: Mating occurs during the wet season. During periods when females are not receptive, relatively stable groups with one adult resident male and several females are the norm.

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