10 largest monkeys in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Monkeys are a suborder of primates, which also includes humans. Many of them are evolutionarily close to humans directly – the common ancestor of these animals and Homo Sapiens could have existed only a few million years ago. The similarity of monkeys to humans has been noticed for a long time and is reflected in culture. Among these primates there are both very small and large, larger than humans in height and weight. The latter – the largest monkeys in the world – will be discussed here.

The biggest monkeys in the world

Nomination a place name GROWTH WEIGHT
The biggest monkeys in the world 1 Eastern gorilla (height 185 cm) 185 cm. 110 kg.
2 Western gorilla (height 170 cm) 170 CM. 160 KG.
3 Sumatran orangutan (height 150 cm) 150 CM. 135 KG.
4 Kalimantan orangutan (height 150 cm) 150 CM. 90 KG.
5 Common chimpanzee (height 140 cm) 140 CM. 80 KG.
6 Pygmy chimpanzee (height 115 cm) 115 CM. 60 KG.
7 Bear baboon (height 115 cm) 115 CM. 45 KG.
8 Siamang (height 90 cm) 90 CM. 13 KG.
9 Gulman (height 90 cm) 90 CM. 11 KG.
10 Mandrill (height 80 cm) 80 CM. 30 KG.

1st place: Eastern gorilla (height 185 cm)

Rating: 5.0

Eastern gorilla

The Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) is the largest and most massive monkey in the world. Although her height is comparable to that of a human, she weighs much more – males average 160 kg, but can gain 220 kg or more. Females are smaller – their height is only 150 cm, and their body weight is 70-110 kg. The coat is dyed black and grows on the entire body, except for the face, chest, feet and palms. Old individuals, like humans, turn gray.

Representatives of the species live in equatorial forests, plains and highlands, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and in southwestern Uganda. They eat fruits, stems and leaves of plants, flowers, roots, bark and wood, invertebrates. There are two subspecies of eastern gorillas – plain and mountain.

They live in related groups, which average 35 individuals. The group is headed by a male; it also includes several adult females and cubs born by these females from the main male. Young males leave the group at 11 years old, and by the time of puberty – 15 years old – create their own. Females mature earlier, at 10 years old, two years before that, leaving for another, unrelated group. Gorillas live for 40-50 years.

The number of this species of monkeys is declining. The mountain subspecies numbers only 680 individuals. The plain subspecies is more common, but its numbers are also decreasing – in 1995 there were 16,900 individuals of the eastern lowland gorillas, now only 5,000 monkeys remain. The reason for their decline is the destruction of forests to clear areas for agriculture, as well as the killing of gorillas for meat.

2nd place: Western gorilla (height 170 cm)

Rating: 4.9

Western gorilla

The western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) is smaller in size than the eastern – the growth of males is 160-170 cm, females are 120-140 cm. The western gorillas are smaller and in weight – 140-160 kg in males and 60-80 kg in females. There are two subspecies of the western gorilla – plain and river, the river subspecies is larger and can catch up with the western gorilla in growth and mass. The coat color is dark, but lighter than that of the oriental species.

This species lives in low-lying tropical forests, in Cameroon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Gabon, Republic of Congo and, probably, DRC, Angola. It feeds mainly on fruits. During the day, animals move 1-4 kilometers in search of trees from which the fruits have not yet been eaten. All movements take place within the individual section of the group – about 30 km². The size of the 'families' is smaller than that of the eastern gorilla – only 2-20 individuals.

The number of western gorillas is estimated at 150-200 thousand individuals. Although there are noticeably more of them than the eastern ones, the state of the species is considered critical. The river subspecies is small – only 280 of its representatives remain. To preserve them, the government of Cameroon created Takamanda National Park. The park is located on the border with Nigeria and contains 115 river gorillas.

3rd place: Sumatran orangutan (height 150 cm)

Rating: 4.8

Sumatran orangutan

This species of monkey, despite being smaller than that of humans, is much more massive. The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), with a growth of one and a half meters, reaches a mass of 135 kg. Females are smaller and lighter – their height is only 1 meter, weight – 30-50 kg. This orangutan has long limbs – the arm span of males reaches 2.5 meters. The hair is red-red, sparse, only on the shoulders, neck and crown of the head the hair is thick and long. There is no hair on the face; males may have a beard and mustache.

Found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Lives in the forest, in the crown of trees, rarely descends to the ground. It feeds on fruits, nuts, honey, tree bark. Sometimes he also eats animal food – for example, slow lorises, which he occasionally hunts. To quench its thirst, it licks drops from plant leaves or drinks water accumulated after rain in hollows.

Individuals live alone, only females spend time with their cubs. This is due to the fact that there are few fruit trees in the forests of the island, and a large group of individuals, being in one place, would quickly eat up the food supply. Life expectancy is an average of 30 years, some individuals live up to 60 years. Puberty occurs at 8-12 years of age in females and several years later in males. Cubs leave their mother only at 6-8 years old, when they are completely ready to live alone.

The number of this species is decreasing. In 2016, it was 14,600 individuals, which is 4 times less than 75 years ago. Due to the small number and endemicity of the species, it is threatened with extinction. Indonesia creates programs to protect orangutans, but at the same time, felling of trees for palm oil and poaching continues – local tribes use meat for food, and skulls for decoration. In 2016, the complete extinction of orangutans was predicted by 2026.

4th place: Kalimantan orangutan (height 150 cm)

Rating: 4.7

Kalimantan orangutan

Kalimantan orangutan (Pongo pigmaeus) is equal in height to Sumatran, but lags behind in weight – males weigh 50-90 kg, rarely gaining 100 kg, while females are 30-50 kg. Endemic to Kalimantan, lives in the tropical rainforests of the island, in Indonesia and Malaysia. It feeds on plants, sometimes insects, bird eggs and chicks. Spends more time on earth than Sumatran.

Like Sumatran orangutans, Kalimantan orangutans live alone. Males, seeing each other, portray aggressiveness, while orangutans are not territorial. Males interact with females only for the purpose of reproduction. Children are raised only by their mothers. Like the Sumatran orangutan, the breastfeeding period is long – 4 years or more. The female usually gives birth to her first child at the age of 14-15.

The number of Kalimantan orangutan is greater than that of Sumatran – 54,500 individuals. Nevertheless, in this species it is also reduced. Due to deforestation, the food supply for orangutans decreases, which leads to a drop in the birth rate. Illegal hunting of orangutans for meat and trophy skulls is also widespread in Kalimantan. Therefore, the species predict an imminent disappearance – within 10-20 years, like its Sumatran counterpart.

5th place: Common chimpanzee (height 140 cm)

Rating: 4.6

Common chimpanzee

The fifth largest monkey is the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). He no longer catches up with a person either in height, but in massiveness – the growth is 100-140 cm, individuals weigh 45-80 kg. The coat is dark brown, covering the whole body, except for the face and fingers. The chimpanzee is considered the most intelligent of the monkeys, it is also the closest to humans – the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees existed only 6 million years ago.

Chimpanzees live in the forests and savannas of West and Central Africa. They are omnivorous, they feed on fruits and nuts, leaves, seeds and tubers of plants, they eat honey, insects, mushrooms. They can gather in groups and hunt other monkeys, for example, monkeys, or ungulates. Leopard cubs are also destroyed to prevent the reproduction of this beast: the leopard is the only predator that preys on chimpanzees.

Among monkeys, only chimpanzees are able to create their own hunting tools. To do this, they tear off a branch from a tree, peel off the bark from it and sharpen it with their teeth. Such a tool is suitable, for example, for hunting small galago monkeys living in tree hollows. This is mainly done by females and children.

Chimpanzees form communities of 20-150 or more individuals. They build nests in trees in order to sleep in them; they also spend half of the daytime in the crowns. They also walk on the ground, usually on four limbs, but they are also able to stand up. Each group has its own territory from which it seeks to expel others. Life expectancy of individuals is 50-60 years, sexual maturity occurs at 11 years. Unlike gorillas, young chimpanzees do not leave the group.

The number of common chimpanzees is 250,000 individuals. Hunting for them, as well as catching and selling them, is generally prohibited. Despite this, there are cases of capture of individuals and destruction of families, and the habitat of the species is also reduced due to plowing of land. Chimpanzees bought before the ban are bought up and returned to the wild.

6th place: pygmy chimpanzee (height 115 cm)

Rating: 4.6

Pygmy chimpanzee

The pygmy chimpanzee, or bonobos (Pan paniscus) is a smaller species than Pan troglodytes. Males grow up to 115 cm in height and weigh 35-60 kg, females are one meter tall and weigh on average 30 kg. Bonobos differ from the common chimpanzee in skin color: in bonobos it is black, while in P. troglodytes it is pink. The coat is also dyed black.

Bonobos live in Central Africa, in tropical forests between the Congo and Lualaba rivers. The number is estimated at 29-50 thousand, the species is poorly studied. They live in communities, like ordinary chimpanzees, but, unlike them, they are headed by a female. In bonobos, conflicts between individuals of the same sex are rare, typical of many other monkeys. Individuals constantly communicate with each other using a signal system that has not yet been decoded by humans.

The ability of pygmy chimpanzees to master other signaling systems has also been found. In an experiment in the United States, a male Kanzi bonobo was taught to comprehend 3,000 English words and use 500 of them using a keyboard with lexigrams – abstract graphic symbols representing a particular word. Therefore, bonobos are considered the closest species of monkeys to humans in intelligence.

7th place: Bear baboon (height 115 cm)

Rating: 4.5

Bear baboon

If all of the above species belonged to the family of hominids, or great apes, then the seventh place is taken by a species from another family – monkeys. Bear baboon, or chakma (Papio ursinus) reaches a height of 115 cm and a weight of 21-45 kg (average 31 kg). Females are smaller, their weight is 12-25 kg. The coat is brown or gray; it differs from other baboons in the absence of a mane in males. Unlike great apes, it has a tail that is 45-84 cm long.

It lives in southern Africa, from Angola, Zambia and Mozambique to South Africa. Inhabits both forests and savannas, as well as deserts and grassy slopes. At night, monkeys climb to the tops of hills, rocks and cliffs, where predators cannot reach them. Omnivorous, eats fruits, grass, flowers, seeds and other plant foods, mushrooms, eats rodents, birds, can hunt small antelopes.

Baboons live in groups – either mixed or with one sexually mature male, females and their cubs. In mixed groups, there is one dominant male who leaves offspring. He does not dominate for life, he can be displaced by another, who often kills the offspring of the previous dominant. Baboons are characterized by complex group behavior, communication with the help of grimaces and postures, voice and body contact.

The bear baboon is numerous and is not threatened with extinction. Only some populations are declining, for example, on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, where they are hunted by lions and leopards protected from extermination, their habitat is being destroyed. Many groups begin to wander around cities, picking up the remains of human food and attacking people, and the locals shoot them off. Despite the absence of a threat to the species as a whole, this population is protected.

8th place: Siamang (height 90 cm)

Rating: 4.4


Siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus) is a great ape, the largest of the gibbons. Siamang's height is 75-90 cm, weight – 8-13 kg. Like all gibbons, it has very long arms – their span is 1.5 meters. The body is covered with black wool. A throat sac is developed, thanks to which the Siamang can sing very loudly – his voice can be heard 3-4 km away.

Siamangs live in Sumatra and in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula. They live in forests at an altitude of up to 3800 meters, most of the time they are in the crowns of trees. They can swim well. They feed on woody foliage and fruits, bird eggs, small animals. They live in monogamous pairs, each pair has its own area that actively protects. Cubs feed on mother's milk for the first 2 years, in the third year of life they leave their parents, become sexually mature at 6-7 years. Siamangs live up to 40 years.

Siamanga is currently not threatened with extinction. However, their number is dropping due to illegal hunting and deforestation. To preserve siamangs and other animals in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, protected areas have been created.

9th place: Gulman (height 90 cm)

Rating: 4.3


The second tallest monkey is the ghulman (Semnopithecus entellus), also called langur and hanuman. The male reaches a height of 80-90 cm, while the tail is 90-100 cm long. The male gulman weighs up to 20 kg. Females are smaller, their height is 70-80 cm, weight is not more than 9-11 kg. The coat is gray or yellowish brown. The muzzle, hands and feet are black.

Langurs live in India, as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Habitats – tropical dry forests and dry shrubs in the subtropics and tropics. They feed on plant food, insects, eggs from bird nests, and cause significant harm to plantations.

Langurs live in large herds, consisting of male leaders, females and their children. Each group has an area of ​​30-60 km² and fiercely defends it. Females become adults at 3-4 years old, males at 4-5 years old. After puberty, males are driven out, after which they can create their own herd. The average life expectancy of langurs is 20 years.

Gulmans are numerous, they are not threatened with extinction. In India, gulman is considered a sacred animal, the personification of the god Hanuman. Therefore, Indians do not kill monkeys, even when they raid their plantations. British colonists tried to kill them, but the locals protested, hid the monkeys and even killed the British.

Now gulmans have settled in many Indian cities, where they can form colonies of more than two thousand individuals. The Indians leave food for these monkeys and do not try to drive them away.

10th place: Mandrill (height 80 cm)

Rating: 4.2


The rating of the largest monkeys is completed by another representative of the monkey family – the mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). The second largest (after the bear baboon) representative of the family is the height of males 80 cm, weight 25-30 kg, females are 55-60 cm tall, weight 12-15 kg. The tail is short – 3-6 cm. Males are brightly colored: the nose is red, along it there are blue bony grooves, white, yellow or red hair grows around the face, the body is brown. Females do not possess such a wealth of colors.

Mandrills inhabit tropical rainforests in Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo. They often live among the rocks. They feed on plants, lizards, rodents. They keep in groups of up to several hundred individuals. Groups include females and children, while sexually mature males live alone. Life expectancy is up to 30 years, puberty at 4 years.

Mandrill is considered a vulnerable species due to deforestation. However, at the moment poaching is more dangerous for this species. The most threatened population is in the Republic of the Congo. Meanwhile, the monkeys born in captivity are returned to the wild, and they successfully take root there.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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