When last of the Sun's rays touches the Earth, before plummeting it into darkness, a few creatures come out of their abode. These nocturnal creatures begin their life only after sundown, fending for food and going about other activities. One such creature is the night monkey, which is a species of primates that lives in the dense forests. Though this species shares the same ancestry as other monkeys, it is different from the other apes and primates. Just like its name, the night monkey only comes out when it is dark, unlike other monkeys which can be seen during the day. These monkeys also have distinctive and large eyes which enable them to see clearly in the dark.
Classification of the Night Monkey
The night monkey can be taxonomically classified as follows:
|Binomial Name:||Aotus lemurinus|
Fascinating Facts about the Night Monkey
There are a number of interesting night monkey facts in regard of their habitat, food, mannerisms etc. On closer observation, one may discover some distinct characteristics of the night monkey, which makes this species stand out from their diurnal counterparts. Listed below are some of the amazing facts of the night monkeys.
- The night monkey, that is also known by its other names like owl monkey and lemurine night monkey is a furry animal which has a medium-sized body. The monkey also has a long tail, whose approximate length is 17 inches, with which it can hang from branches at ease.
- These monkeys have thick speckled gray colored fur with a pale gray or yellow underside. The tail is also bushy, with a dark tip. The face, resembles that of an owl, with a rounded head and large eyes, above which there are thick white eyebrows. Another characteristic feature about the monkey's face is the three black strips above the eyebrows and the black dot between the eyes.
- These monkeys belong to the class of New World Monkeys, and are the only nocturnal species of monkeys. During the day, they rest in tree holes and dark places. They are active during the night and especially on a full moon night.
- The natural night monkey habitat is the thick rainforests of Central and South America, Panama, Paraguay and also Argentina. These primates can be seen living in trees that offer canopy and places that are densely covered with vines. Night monkeys are arboreal (i.e they live on trees) and are hardly seen on the ground.
- The night monkeys eat fruits, tender leaves and shoots, and also insects. Hence the diet of the night monkey consists of a wide range of fruits, insects and leaves of different trees.
- These mammals are monogamous and mostly seen in pairs. They often travel in small groups, which usually consists of the male and female accompanied by their offspring, which may be 1 to 3 in number. Regardless of their gender, night monkeys attain sexual maturity when they are 2½ years old.
- The gestational period of the females is approximately 4 months, after which only a single offspring is born. Till the offspring is eight months old, it is suckled by the mother. Once it reaches 3 years of age, it is left to fend for its own.
- The night monkeys mark their territory by scent and defend it with vocal calls. The douroucoulis (another name for night monkeys) see only monochrome, which means that they do not possess color vision.
Owing to deforestation and encroachment, the number of night monkeys in the wild has dwindled, and this monkey appears on the list of endangered species. So, before this unique species gets wiped off from the face of the Earth, it is essential to conserve and protect them from becoming extinct.