red colobus monkey

What do they look like?

One of the most striking features of the red colobus is a crown of long, white hairs which fans out around the face in tufts.

The face is mainly black but notice the pink areas around the mouth and nose. If you look closely you will see that individual monkeys have different face patterns.




culumbos or columbus

The back of the head and back are very red, seperated by a black stripe across the shoulders which

continues down the arms. The tail has varying shades of red, often graduating to a sandy orange.
Adult males & females are almost equal in body size. Notice how few adult males there are in the group.
There are usually only from one to four adult males, with many more adult females and young of
different ages. To distinguish infants of less than three months look out for their black backs;

these change to red by six months.





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Some of the

fascinating places

in tanzania include:





lake manyara,





mafia island,

pemba island,

scenic flying safaris

arusha town


dar es salaam


arusha np



Tour / Excursion Costs & Prices



south coast dolphin tour

spice and botanical tour

jozani forest tour

prison island tour

north coast tour

stone town tour

west coast tour

east coast tour

night life

sunset dhow cruises



How do they live?

The monkeys are highly social and live in groups of about thirty to fifty individuals. 

They begin feeding early in the morning and are most active during the cooler parts of the day.

If you hear loud calls from the adult males it often means the group is about to move from tree to tree to

eat. Red colobus eat young leaves, flowers, leaf shoots, unripe fruit and seeds.

The most common kinds of trees that colobus feed on are black plum, various species of wild fig trees,

and red mahogany, as well as introduced species such as Indian almond, coconut and mango.

Unlike other monkeys, red colobus do not eat ripe fruit as they are unable to digest sugars.

Their four-chambered stomachs break down their food using bacteria which are kept active by feeding

regularly throughout the day. The colobus also eat charcoal and this may help their digestive system to

cope with the poisons the leaves contain.

The resting periods between meals are good times to see the monkeys playing and grooming.
You may observe mothers feeding their young, which they do for approximately seventeen months,
althought sometimes adult males suckle too.

Althought legally protected, red colobus are highly endangered. Their survival depends on the success of

protecting them in their natural habitat as they have never been kept in captivity for a long period of

time. Their habitat is increasingly being destroyed due to the demands of a growing human population for

farm land, fuelwood and charcoal. The monkeys' choice of food often brings them into direct conflict with

farmers who once killed them as pests when they werre found feeding in fruit trees. Now many monkeys

live in small groups which are seperated from one another and their rate of reproduction is low. Others

llive in arger groups which have overbrowsed the trees in their home ranges.

Ideas are being discussed to share the revenue from tourism with the local villagers.
To help communities conserve the Zanzibar red colobus, please give generously to the Community
Fund donation box, housed in a Zanzibar carved chest on the reception desk.

The Red Colobus

One of Africa's rarest primates, the Zanzibar red colobus may number only about 1500.

Isolated on this island for at least 10,000 years, the Zanzibar red colobus (Procolombus kirkii)  is

recognised as a distinct species, with different coat patterns, calls and food habits then related colombus

species on the mainland. Often mispelled as columbus, culumbus or columbos.

Zanzibar red colobus live in a wide variety of drier areas of coastal thickets and coral rag scrub, as well as
mangrove swamps and agricultural areas. About one third of the red colobus live in and around Jozani
Forest. Ironically, the easiest monkeys to see are on farm and adjacent to the reserve.
They are used to people and the low vegetation means they come close to the ground.

Poison Monkey?

In Zanzibar Kiswahili, the name for the red colobus is kima punju- "poison monkey"- and this has

associations with a kind of poison used by evil-doers. Local people believe that when the monkeys have
fed in an area, the trees and crops die. Dogs are thought to lose their fur if they eat the colobus.
The term punju is also used to differentiate the smell of the colobus from Sykes and vervet monkeys.
Colobus smell stronger and are therefore never kept as pets.

Rules For Responsible Monkey Watching

Please follow the following rules to protect yourself and the red colobus monkeys:

- You must be accompanied by an official Jozani Forest Tour guide.
- DO NOT APPROACH CLOSER THEN 3 METERS and preferably remain at a distance of 5
meters. This is for your own safety: the monkeys are wild animals and can bite or pass
their illnesses on to you.
- Do not invite any interaction with the monkeys or try to feed them. If they come close,



















Zanzibar Magic currently

takes bookings on:

culumbus columbus

 avoid eye contact and move away.

- Do not make noises to attract their


- You are one of the major threats to the

monkeys as primates are susceptible to

human diseases. Do not visit the colobus if

    you are suffering from any illness, particular
  a cold or flu.
  - Observe the posted speed limit near
  Jozani. Monkeys are killed by cars every

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