September 4, 2019

The Curious Behaviour of Grey Langurs

Hope you learned something from our previous blogpost! In this one, you’ll learn about behavioural traits, similarities and differences with humans as well as the difference between New World and Old World monkeys.

Two Common Behavioural traits of the Grey Langur

Grooming – Monkeys spend most of their time grooming each other, mainly because it establishes social bonds between individuals, but also to get rid of itchy parasites. However, recent discoveries have shown that they do not actually eat the parasites as this could make them very poorly.

Foraging – As they possess a folivorous diet they spend most of their time picking leaves. However, occasionally they will eat fruits. Here’s an interesting fact: humans and primates possess colour vision to be able to identify different fruits and to check if it is edible, ripe or poisonous!

Two Key Differences between Grey Langurs and Human behaviour

Diet – As you know, Langurs primarily eat leaves. This is very different to humans omnivorous or vegetarian diets. It would make us humans very ill if we had to eat leaves with that amount of tannins (toxins); we would also not be able to digest it efficiently. In addition, our stomachs are structured in a very different manner in order to digest our varying diets.

Lifestyle – Langurs and humans share completely different specialities. The Langurs are mainly found living amongst the trees using both their hands, feet and tail to cling, and their tail to balance. On the other hand, humans have adapted to live a completely terrestrial lifestyle as we walk bipedally (on our two feet). We would be no use if we tried to swing through the trees or tried to grasp onto branches with our feet! This is because we have no tail to balance ourselves, and have a heavier body mass so it would be more difficult to launch ourselves from branch to branch.

Monkeys – New World and Old World – What does this mean?

All monkey species are divided into ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ due to their tail and their geographic location on the earth. Langurs are classified as Old World Monkeys, found only in Asia and Africa. They possess long tails that are actually not prehensile i.e. the tails are not capable of grasping, and instead are used for balancing. On the other hand, you can observe New World monkeys in South America such as the spider monkey, who possess prehensile tails that they will use as a fifth limb to move efficiently through the trees.

I hope you now find primates as interesting as I do. Head on down to Wild Coast Tented Lodges to learn more, and see these monkeys in action at the lodge and also while on a safari at Yala National Park. They are truly fascinating to watch and study!

Grace Sears

Ranger at Wild Coast Lodge