There are around 334 species of monkeys in the world. They are a diverse group of mammals that belong to the primate family. Primates encompass apes and humans as well as monkeys, however, the latter is distinguished from the rest by the presence of a tail, albeit a long one or a stumpy nubbin.
Monkeys can be divided into two groups: Old World and New World. The former tend to be larger and possess fingernails, whilst the latter have prehensile tails. Monkeys are incredibly social animals and are iconic for their cheeky nature, hence the phrase “cheeky monkey”.
Most people deem a lot of monkey species cute, especially babies. But have you ever wondered what species earn the title of the cutest in the world? Read on to find out!
- What Makes A Monkey So Cute?
- Cutest Monkeys in The World
- Cutest Small Monkey Breeds
- Verdict: Cutest Monkey in The World
- List of The Cutest Monkeys
What Makes A Monkey So Cute?
When humans see something cute, it stimulates the mesocorticolimbic system in our brains, releasing a surge of dopamine which makes us feel warm and fuzzy.
Cute Baby Monkeys
A lot of monkey species are considered cute by many, especially small and newborn individuals. Subconsciously, baby monkeys invoke a feeling of adoration due to their resemblance to human infants, specifically their large heads and eyes and small hand and feet. Even if an adult monkey is not deemed adorable, the babies often are.
Pygmy marmosets are the smallest species of monkeys in the world. At birth, these tiny babies may weigh as little as 3 grams!
Adult Francois langur monkeys are not necessarily cute looking. However, the babies of these species are adorable. They have bright orange fur and a very rounded head, that somewhat resembles a pumpkin, making them look vastly different from their black-furred parents.
Another species of adult monkey that is not traditionally cute is the mangabey monkey. The babies however have fuzzy black fur with very large, prominent ears and elongated faces. They resemble an adorable mix between a newborn baby and a little old man.
Close-up of a baby mangabey monkey’s face
Most Beautiful Monkey in The World
The red-shanked douc langur monkey is certainly the beauty queen of the monkey world. Their coat contains an array of vibrant blocks of color and as such are often called the “costumed monkey”. It appears as though it wears maroon stockings and white gloves.
Its chest is black, the back is silver-grey, and the tail is white. The face is golden orange and framed by white turfs of fur. Unfortunately, their outstanding beauty has led to them becoming one of the most endangered primates in the world.
Although not conventionally attractive, the mandrill monkey deserves a mention due to the bold colors it displays. Both their muzzle and rump are furless and boast a pattern of vibrant, almost iridescent, red and blue. They are one of the most colorful mammals on the planet.
Cutest Monkeys in The World
From the tiny pygmy marmoset to the vibrant golden lion tamarin, to the bug-eyed tarsier, each species on this list is uniquely adorable in its own way.
1. Red Shanked Douc Langur
Scientific Name: Pygathrix nemaeus
The red-shanked douc langur is so-called due to its maroon red legs. their exquisite coloration is what put them on the list of cutest monkeys. Through hunting, habitat loss, and the pet trade, they have been placed on the critically endangered list.
Being frugivores, a number of fruits alongside plants, leaves, and flowers make up this monkey’s diet. They have elongated appendages and tails that they use to swing through the trees in search of food.
Evergreen forests in North and Central Vietnam and Laos are where this monkey can be found. They are a social and arboreal species that eat, play, and sleep in the treetops.
Scientific Name: Macaca mulatta
There are 23 species of macaques in the world. They have robust bodies with long arms, legs, and tails. Their fur ranges between black, brown, and grey and they have flattened faces.
Macaques are omnivores meaning they feed on both animal and plant matter. They have cheek pouches in which they carry food. These primates live in male-dominated troops and spend equal time in the tree canopies and on the ground.
Aside from humans, macaques are geographically the most diverse primate. They inhabit the tropical and mountainous rainforests of Asia, Southern Europe, and North Africa.
3. Common Marmoset
Scientific Name: Callithrix jacchus
The common marmoset is also called the white-tufted marmoset, due to the white tufts of fur that protrude from around its ears. They are a small species of less than 8 inches in height and have long tails.
Insects and plant exudates make up the majority of their diet, which they obtain using their sharp, claw-like nails, teeth, and tongue. They reside in stable and extended family groups where only a few individuals are allowed to breed.
Common marmosets are native to brazil and inhabit a variety of forests including coastal, riverine, and savanna. Commonly, marmosets are kept as pets.
4. Silvery Marmosets
Scientific Name: Mico argentatus
The silvery marmoset gets its name from the beautiful silver-grey fur that covers virtually all of its body, apart from the tail which is dark grey. They have furless, peach-colored feet, hands, and faces. On average, they range between 7 and 11 inches.
Tree sap makes up most of their diet but they also supplement fruits, bird eggs, and small arthropods. They are an arboreal and diurnal species that use their sharp claw to climb trees.
Silvery marmosets have a concentrated range in the Eastern Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. They favor edge and secondary-growth forests due to the abundance of prey they provide.
5. Vervet Monkey
Scientific Name: Chlorocebus pygerthrus
The vervet monkey has a white and grey dappled coat with a black face, hands, and feet. They exhibit sexual dimorphism as males have bright blue testicles and red penis. Males are also much larger and heavier than females.
Primarily, their diet is herbivorous and they consume food such as fruits, flowers, leaves, and seeds. They have cheeky mannerisms but that gives them a sort of cute charm.
Vervet monkeys range across South and East Africa. They inhabit a variety of areas including savanna, woodland, coastal forest, mountains, and even urban environments.
6. Capuchin Monkey
Scientific Name: Cebus apella
There are around 5 different species of capuchin monkeys and are the species most often used for movies and television shows, such as Marcel in Friends or Dexter in Night in the Museum. They can be black, brown, or whiteish depending on the species.
Capuchin monkeys are an aboreal and diurnal species. They have a very varied diet of plant matter, arthropods, mollusks, vertebrates, and even other primates.
Rain, mountainous, and low-lying forests are the main habitats of this species as they provide easy access to both food and shelter. They can be found across Central and South America.
7. Dusky Leaf Monkey
Scientific Name: Trachypitecus obscurus
Adult dusky leaf monkeys have black fur which is contrasted by circular white patches around the eyes and mouth, giving an innocently adorable appearance. Baby dusky leaf monkeys are bright orange in color.
Plant matter such as leaves, fruit, and seeds make up most of their diet but they will also consume small insects. Due to poaching and habitat loss, these monkeys are classified as endangered.
Dusky leaf monkeys live in tropical forests across Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
8. Golden Lion Tamarin
Scientific Name: Leontopithecus rosalia
As their name suggests, the golden lion tamarin has an exquisite golden-orange coat that resembles the mane of a lion. They are around 10 inches in length.
Small arthropods, bird eggs, fruits, and flowers make up the diverse, omnivorous diet of this monkey. They live in small social groups of between 2 and 8 members and are active for around 12 hours a day.
Tamarins have a limited range in the rainforests of Southeast Brazil.
9. Emperor Tamarin
Scientific Name: Saguinus imperator
The emperor tamarin is iconically cute for his long, white, curled mustache it sports. The rest of its fur is a dappled black and it is around 10 inches in length.
Tamarins are omnivores and will consume anything from fruits to insects to eggs. They are a playful and gregarious species and individuals in captivity adore human attention and interaction.
Lowland forests across the Southwest Amazon constitute the habitats of these primates.
Cutest Small Monkey Breeds
Monkeys are instantly cuter when they are tiny! Below are 3 of the smallest, adorable monkey species.
10. Squirrel Monkey
Scientific Name: Saimiri sciureus
The squirrel monkey has grey-brown fur and a cute, rounded face with tufted ears that poke out slightly. They have big, black eyes and range from 10 to 16 inches in length.
Squirrel monkeys forage in groups for leaves, fruit, tree gum, and insects. For the first few weeks, a newborn baby will cling to a mother’s back. They make popular pets due to their gentle and affectionate nature.
The canopies of tropical rainforests across South America are where the primates can be found.
11. Pygmy Marmoset
Scientific Name: Cebuella pygmaea
Pygmy marmosets are the smallest species of monkey in the world, making them extra cute! Adults are around 100 grams and 5 inches in length. Due to their small size, they are also called finger monkeys.
Tree gum makes up most of their diet which they extract using their sharp claws, tongue, and teeth. Their adorable size makes them popular pets, but they are difficult and expensive to purchase.
You can find these monkeys in the Amazon Basin in South America where they frequent evergreen and river edge forests.
Scientific Name: Tarsiidae spp.
There are 13 species of the tarsier. These primates do not look like a typical monkey due to their squat frame, scaly tail, and rounded face covered in fur. They have huge, round eyes that accelerate their cute appearance. They are very small measuring only 3.4 to 6 inches in length.
They are the only fully carnivorous primate and feast on insects and reptiles that they hunt during the night. They move around by jumping from tree to tree.
Jungle canopies in Southeast Asia are where this tiny primate can be found.
Verdict: Cutest Monkey in The World
Every monkey species on this list is adorable in its own, unique way. Which one do you think is the cutest?
List of The Cutest Monkeys
Below is a list of just 20 of the cutest monkey species in the world.
- Capuchin Monkey
- Common Marmoset
- Cotton-top Tamarin
- Dusky Leaf Monkey
- Emperor Tamarin
- Golden Lion Tamarin
- Howler Monkey
- Japanese Macaque
- Pygmy Marmoset
- Red-Handed Tamarin
- Red-Shanked Douc Langur
- Rhesus Macaque
- Silvery Marmoset
- Spider Monkey
- Squirrel Monkey
- Titi Monkey
- Vervet Monkey