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What is a Guenon?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Guenon is a genus of medium-sized monkeys with long tails in which all members can trace their roots back to Africa. One defining physical characteristic of the guenon are their large cheek pouches, which they use in order to store extra food. These cheek pouches are so large that the guenon can hold nearly as much in them as it can in its stomach.

The majority of guenons are either threatened or endangered due to habitat loss. The primary habitat for most guenons is the forest, as they are leaf-eaters and tree-dwellers. Nonetheless, guenons have a diet that is more varied than other monkeys in similar dwellings, as they eat seeds, fruits, leaves, reptiles, and insects. On occasion, they also dine on small mammals.

Guenons are playful monkeys who enjoy socializing with other monkeys, whether they are guenon or members of another species. They communicate with other monkeys through facial expressions and gestures. Guenons may also move their tails or heads in specific motions in order to communicate with other monkeys.

Being social creatures, most guenons live in large groups and travel together through the forest. In addition, different types of guenon often live together. In this way, they help each other forage for food and keep each other safe from predators.

Natural predators of the guenon include leopards, chimpanzees, and eagles. The greatest predators of the guenon, however, are humans, as they destroy forests and build logging roads within the guenon's habitat. Humans also illegally hunt guenons for their meat.

The wolf guenon is one type of guenon found south of the Congo River in Africa. This guenon feeds on insects and plants, as well as on nectar. Therefore, wolf guenons are vital pollinators in some areas of the rain forest. This guenon is easy to identify, as it is quite colorful, yet has a pale forehead with a black stripe just above the eyes.

Another type of guenon is the L’Hoest guenon. L’Hoest guenons travel together in large family groups consisting of one male and many females and their young. Although the male is in charge, the females are typically more aggressive when danger strikes the group. This type of guenon generally does not socialize with other guenons. They have dark gray fur with a white bib of fur beneath their chins.

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Discussion Comments
By dill1971 — On Jan 08, 2011

@medicchristy: There was once a guenon monkey in captivity which lived to be 33 years old. The average lifespan of a guenon monkey in the wild is between 20 and 30 years.

Guenons also walk on all fours, which means that they are quadrupedal.

By medicchristy — On Jan 07, 2011

How long do guenon monkeys live?

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