12 Cutest Monkeys in The World | With Pictures

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!

Mother and baby baboon bonding
Mother and baby baboon bonding
Credit: Jan Bambach by CC: 3.0

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

Cute Baby Monkeys
Credit: Shawn Allen by CC: 2.0 
Scientific Name: Cercocebus atys

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. 

Portrait of a Douc
Red-Shanked Douc Langur monkey sitting in a tree
Credit: Bjorn Christian Torrissen by CC: 3.0

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. 

Red Shanked Douc Langur
Red-Shanked Douc Langur sitting on a branch
Credit: Art G by CC: 2.0

2. Macaques

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.

Pair of Rhesus Macaques sitting in a tree
Credit: Suyash Dwivedi by CC: 4.0

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.

Common Marmoset
Common Marmoset perched on a branch
Credit: Aatu Dorochenko by CC: 4.0

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.

Silvery Marmosets
Silvery Marmoset perched on a branch
Credit: Tony Hisgett by CC: 2.0

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.

Vervet Monkey
Vervet Monkey in a tree
Credit: Caitlin Watson

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. 

Capuchin Monkey
Brown Capuchin monkey walking along a rope
Credit: William Warby by CC: 2.0

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.

Dusky Leaf Monkey
Dusky Leaf Monkey sat in a tree
Credit: Ronykr by CC: 4.0

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.

Golden Lion Tamarin
Golden Lion Tamarin perched on a branch
Credit: Pierre5018 by CC: 4.0

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.

Emperor Tamarin
Emperor Tamarin monkey perched on a branch whilst eating
Credit: Fabian Horst by CC: 4.0

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.

Squirrel Monkey
Squirrel monkey eating
Credit: Luc Viatour by CC: 3.0

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. 

Pygmy Marmoset
Pygmy Marmoset sitting on a branch
Credit: Mike Peel by CC: 4.0

12. Tarsiers

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.

Tarsier sat among leaves
Credit: Sakurai Midori by CC: 3.0

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.

  1. Capuchin Monkey 
  2. Common Marmoset 
  3. Cotton-top Tamarin 
  4. Dusky Leaf Monkey 
  5. Emperor Tamarin 
  6. Gibbons 
  7. Golden Lion Tamarin 
  8. Guenon 
  9. Howler Monkey 
  10. Japanese Macaque 
  11. Pygmy Marmoset 
  12. Red-Handed Tamarin 
  13. Red-Shanked Douc Langur 
  14. Rhesus Macaque 
  15. Silvery Marmoset 
  16. Spider Monkey 
  17. Squirrel Monkey 
  18. Tarsier 
  19. Titi Monkey  
  20. Vervet Monkey