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Noisy Night Monkey
Aotus vociferans

How did the noisy night monkey get its name? Probably from the low, loud, distinct, owl-like hoots it makes at night. Although its call is easy to identify, when seen at night these noisy night monkeys can often be mistaken for an opossum or kinkajou when their eyes reflect light. The distinguishing characteristic, however, is that the noisy night monkey has a striking black and white facial pattern, unlike the opossum or kinkajou.

This particular monkey is about one foot long, and 2 to 3 lbs. It has dark ears, and a long, two colored black tipped prehensile tail. It is thought that there are between 5 and 7 species of night monkeys, and one of the species found in the upper Amazon basin is the noisy night monkey.

The noisy night monkey is arboreal, meaning that it lives in the trees, and nocturnal, meaning that it is awake at night. These two adaptations help the noisy night monkey steer clear of predators in the rainforest. Noisy night monkeys can range from the lowlands all the way up to cloud forests, regularly reaching elevations of up to 11,000 feet. Daytime is typically spent in tree holes, although sometimes the monkeys will do foraging in the early hours of daylight.

Night monkeys are mainly frugivorous, meaning that they only eat fruit, although they also eat flowers, insects, leaves and nectar. The noisy night monkey generally lives in groups of two to five individuals, usually a couple and their offspring. The noisy night monkey is uniquely monogamous, meaning males and females only have one mating partner in their lifetime. The females produce a single young, born with its eyes open. Most mate in the dry season and give birth in the rainy season. Males and females are monomorphic, or similar in body size, and males take on much of the parental care, often carrying the infant from the day of birth. The baby stays on the back of the mother or father for six months. After that, the baby goes out on its own.

Like other small monkeys, noisy night monkeys are preyed upon by birds of prey, arboreal cats, boa constrictors, and people. They can also die from yellow fever and parasite infections.

The noisy night monkey stays close together with the other members of his family. Usually, the babies will stay on their mom or dads back for the first six months of life.


Noisy night monkeys are very agile and playful. The above photo is a noisy night monkey in captivity.

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