The Allen’s swamp monkeys are one of the breathtaking primate species you are likely to encounter during African safaris, and mainly occupy areas of Congo Basin within the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville), west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, they were also recorded from the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve of the Central African Republic in 2016.
Scientifically known as Allenopithecus nigroviridis, the Allen’s swamp monkeys are categorized within their own genus-Allenopithecus within the Old World Monkey family and are systematically said to be sisters to the Guenons but significantly differ in terms of habits and dentition.
Allen’s swamp monkeys are surprisingly strongly-built primates with grey-green color on their upper sides. Their faces are reddish with considerably long hair bundles at their cheeks. Another interesting thing about them is that the slightly webbing of their fingers and toes is the reason for their adaptation to the aquatic way of life.
The lifespan of the Allen’s swamp monkeys is 23 years but live longer in captivity and their enemies/predators are usually bonobos, raptors and snakes.
Their full body measures 45 to 60 centimeters long with about 50 centimeters long tail. Allen’s swamp monkeys display a high degree of sexual dimorphism with the males weighing about 6 kilograms while the females weigh up to 3.5 kilograms.
They are diurnal animals that look for food on the ground. The fact that they occupy marshy and water-rich areas, they can undeniably swim and dive even in times of danger. They stay in social groups of up to 40 members and the larger groups are always sub-divided into sub-groups of about 2-8 members that live and forage together. One common characteristic about them is that they have a multi-female and multi-male social system.
Allen’s swamp monkeys have different ways of communication that includes touches, calls, grunting sounds and gestures. Unlike other primate species, the habitats of the Allen’s swamp monkeys are not so much exposed to danger as it is within the forests although are also hunted for their meat. Their family sleeping sites are normally found near water sources and always become regular spots that are repeatedly used.
They are omnivorous with their diet comprising of mainly fruits, leaves, worms as well as beetles. Due to their rareness, little is known about their mating habits. However, they reach sexual maturity after three to five years, young ones are weaned after three months old.