Primates are some of the most clever and intelligent animals on earth, and they hold a special place in the hearts of millions of people worldwide. Their ranks include monkeys, apes, baboons, lemurs, and even human beings. They can be found all over the world, and many societies have worshipped them for their guile, wit, and loyalty. While many of these animals are cute and lovable, there are a whole lot of weird looking primates out there that are almost too unusual to believe.
These strange primates can be found everywhere from the natural hot springs of Japan to the deserts of Arabia to the largest rainforests on earth. Whether they have blue faces or red, huge noses or none at all, crazy-looking primates are as common in the animal kingdom as their more normal cousins. Out of the over 600 known species in the world, these are the absolute freakiest looking primates in nature.
These endangered primates are named for their pronounced noses - one of the most distinctive in the animal kingdom. They are also known for their impressive swimming abilities, which is a rare skill for primates. Proboscis monkeys can only be found in the jungles of Borneo where they tend to stay close to water, whether it be near rivers, swamps, or mangrove forests. They spend most of their lives in the trees, rarely walking on the ground for fear of jaguars and other predators. Unfortunately, the elimination of their natural habitat for human activities has nearly wiped out the rainforests that they call home, and as a result proboscis monkeys are facing extinction.
Mandrills are both the biggest monkeys in the world and one of the most colorful. Not only are their faces exuberant, but their hind quarters are also well known for their distinctive hues - and when mandrills get excited, these colors on their bodies will flush even brighter. Mandrills can be found deep in the rainforests of Africa where they live mostly terrestrial lives, only climbing up into the trees at night to sleep. They are omnivores who will eat anything from fruits to small amphibians and reptiles, and their troops are usually led by an alpha male and can include over a dozen females and young. Sometimes, groups will come together to form large social gatherings that can grow to over 200 individuals.
The bright red faces of the bald uakaris are certainly odd, but they may also play an important role in the lives of these monkeys. Uakaris live deep in the Amazon rainforest, a place known for its harsh climate and variety of deadly diseases. The rich color of their faces could be a signal to other uakaris that they are healthy, as symptoms of diseases like malaria usually cause pale skin.
Uakaris live in troops of up to a hundred individuals, and spend most their time foraging for food. However, their numbers are threatened due to human activity and relatively slow reproduction rates, meaning that uakaris could easily jump up from being classified as vulnerable to being placed on the endangered species list if their numbers continue declining.
Tarsiers are a group of small primates who could once be found all around the world, but are now limited to the rainforests of Southeast Asia. These animals are known for their large eyes - each of which are as large as their entire brain. They have adapted to life in the trees and can bound from trunk to trunk with their impressively long and powerful legs, which, relative to their size, are the longest back legs of any mammal. Less than 10 species of tarsier exist in the wild, many of which are vulnerable to extinction. Surprisingly, domestic cats are one of the largest driving factors in tarsier population loss, as their similarity to mice makes them perfect targets for felines.