Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Colobus Monkey

Colobus guereza

Colobus monkeys live in trees in the forests of Central Africa, eating mostly leaves and fruit. They are unusual for their beautiful black and white coloring. Unlike some other monkeys, they live in small groups and spend much of their time resting.

Range & Habitat

Colobus monkeys can be found in variety of habitats including primary and secondary deciduous forests, montane forests, lowland swamps, coastal forests, moist savannahs and gallery forests of Central Africa.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Least Concern however, they are facing habitat loss and are hunted in some areas for meat as well as for their beautiful coats.


In the Wild: Leaves, fruits, flowers, twigs, soil, bark and seeds. At the Zoo: Kale, spinach, lettuce, carrots, primate biscuits, green beans, and sprouts.

Life Span

In the Wild: Up to 20 years; In Human Care: 30 years or more.

Fun Facts about the Colobus Monkey

  • Adult colobus monkeys are black and white in color, but when born they are almost pure white. It takes several weeks for a colobus monkey to gain its black and white coloration.
  • Colobus monkeys have a small nub rather than a fully functioning thumb. Instead of utilizing an opposable thumb, the colobus monkey uses its long fingers to wrap around tree branches like a hook. This species also lacks cheek pouches that are common in many Old World monkeys.
  • To digest their diet of foliage, they have a multi-chambered stomach and gut microbes that break down plant cellulose – similar to cows!
  • Colobus monkeys have long hair and an extremely long tail that measures 20 to 32 inches! Some studies suggest the monkey’s long hair and tail act as a parachute to slightly slow it down when it jumps from a high place.


Black and White Colobus Monkey. (2020). Retrieved May 13, 2020, from

Colobus Monkey. (2020). Retrieved May 13, 2020, from

Colobus Monkeys - Black And White Colobus Monkeys. (2020). Retrieved May 13, 2020, from

Updated June 13, 2023
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