What do monkeys eat?

Monkeys are omnivorous animals, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter. Their diet varies depending on the species and their habitat, but generally consists of the following:


Monkeys consume a wide variety of fruits, which are a major part of their diet. They eat fruits like bananas, mangoes, papayas, figs, and many others found in their natural habitats123.

Leaves, Seeds, and Vegetation

Monkeys also feed on leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, and other vegetation. Some species, like the proboscis monkey, primarily eat leaves and seeds3.

Insects and Small Animals

Many monkey species supplement their diet with insects, such as ants, termites, and spiders. Some larger monkeys, like the mandrill, may also eat small birds, bird eggs, lizards, and even other smaller monkey species3.

Tree Sap and Nectar

Certain smaller monkeys, like the pygmy marmoset and emperor tamarin, feed on tree sap and nectar from flowers3.

Foraging Behavior

Monkeys employ various foraging strategies to obtain their food. Some species, like spider monkeys, can consume up to 2.4 kg of food per day and forage frequently to meet their dietary needs3. Others, like the saki monkeys, may consume up to 50 different fruit species in a single hour of foraging3. It's important to note that while bananas are a popular food associated with monkeys, they are not the sole or even primary component of most monkey diets in the wild. Monkeys require a diverse and balanced diet to meet their nutritional requirements12
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