Wild Fact #761 – Not a Fact on the Fruit Cup – Monito del Monte

Wild Fact #761 – Not a Fact on the Fruit Cup – Monito del Monte

Photo by José Luis Bartheld

Well it is the end of another week  and I thought we would continue our South American tour through the weekend. Since we are done looking at the Giant Anteater I thought we could head to southwestern South America to learn about the Monito del Monte.  Just so you have an idea of what you are in for today, this creature is also known as the Little Mountain Monkey, so you know it will be a fun Wild Fact.

The Monito del Monte is a not a monkey but rather a marsupial native to Chile and Argentina. Remember folks, marsupials are mammals that have their young mature inside of a nice, warm and comfy pouch (think about the kangaroo).  This little mountain monkey is a nocturnal animal that uses it partially prehensile tail to live a full life in the trees. They like to feed on insects and other small invertebrates but will mix it up with fruit.

The Monito del Monte is often considered to be a living fossil since it is the last remaining member of an extinct lineage.  Just how far does this lineage date back you ask? Well if the scientists did their estimates properly than this little mountain monkey is about 40 million years old.  Now you see why they consider them to be a living fossil?

So I mentioned that these little rascals are marsupials so you can imagine they have an unique breeding behaviour. Well, it isn’t that different compared to other pouched animals.  They will usually have a litter of 1 to 4 in the spring which mature in a fur-lined pouch.  Once the babies are old enough to leave the pouch they will be nursed in a nest and carried on their mother’s back.  The life of a baby Monito del Monte sounds pretty relaxing, doesn’t it?

Monito del Monte Fast Fact – It might be tough to tell from the picture but the Monito del Monte is about the size of a mouse.  If we have to put a number on it I would say they can get up to about 13 cm (5″) in length.  Did you realize that they were this small?

Well that does it for our short South American tour.  Take tomorrow off and enjoy the sights and sounds.  We fly home on Sunday!  Have a great weekend!

1 Comment

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    Joan July 23, 2010

    I just love those little toes! :)

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