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Monkey Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Monkeys have many adaptations that allow them to get the amount of food they need to survive and stay safe from potential predators. Learn about some of these monkey adaptations in this lesson.

Family First

Have you ever heard of someone being called 'ride or die?' This is a slang term that is used to describe someone who is so loyal to their loved ones that they would never leave their side, even in the face of death.

When it comes to monkeys and their families, or troops, they are definitely 'ride or die.' Monkey troops do everything together throughout their entire lives. They eat together, sleep together and protect one another from potential predators. Just like in human families, young members of the troop learn the ways of monkey life from the elders of the troop.

A troop of monkeys
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There are many advantages to living as a large troop. For example, the troops can protect their food from other animals or troops. Monkey troops communicate with one another, as well. For example, capuchin monkeys use a variety of vocal sounds to warn each other about different predators.

A Monkey's Toolbox

What separates human beings from other animals? Well, there are many things, but one of them is our intelligence and ability to use the resources around us to do things. Think about it - animals don't drive cars, cook in kitchens or use computers like we do.

While monkeys are certainly not as advanced as human beings, they are different than most animals in that they can skillfully use tools. For example, capuchin monkeys will use rocks to smash larger foods into smaller, bite-sized pieces. They will also use sticks to get insects out of a tree trunk.

Back Off!

Like many other animals, monkeys have found ways to assert their dominance in order to stay safe from potential predators. One of the main ways that monkeys scare other animals off is by howling really loudly. In fact, howler monkeys howl so loud that they can be heard from around three miles away. They are able to do this because they have a really large larynx, or vocal chords.

Sometimes, monkeys will grin, pull their lip back or bob their heads when they are being aggressive. One of the most unusual adaptations that monkeys have to show that they are dominant to other monkeys is to pee on less dominant monkeys. Pretty aggressive, right?

Yikes! This monkey is not to be messed with!
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