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The 7 Ugliest Monkeys in the World!

There are plenty of cute monkeys in the world, and then there are the less fortunate ugly monkeys. But these monkeys don’t let their looks get them down. Some even benefit from being ugly. So let’s get on with this list of the ugliest monkeys in the world only a mother can love.

Ugly Monkey Species

  • Proboscis Monkey
  • Red-faced Spider Monkey
  • Crab-eating Macaque
  • Bald Uakari
  • Hamadryas Baboon
  • Stump-tailed Macaque
  • Golden Snub-nosed Macaque

Proboscis Monkey

ugliest monkeys in the world, male proboscis monkey
Male proboscis monkey.

The male proboscis monkey has the biggest nose of all the primates. The nose is so long it hangs down in front of their mouth, making the task of eating awkward. The oldest males can have a nose 17.8 cm (7 in) long females have a nose that is in proportion to their face.

But it is not all doom and gloom for the male proboscis monkey as the more prominent the nose, the easier time they have attracting a mate. Scientists believe the overgrown nose creates an echo chamber that amplifies their calls, making them travel further. This results in impressing more females and greater at intimidating rival males.

They also have what looks like bloated guts. This is because they have four stomach chambers filled with different bacteria to break the poisonous leaves they eat. It can take them up to fifty hours to digest one meal. They live in Borneo, high up in the trees, swinging and jumping above the rivers, mangroves and swamps that they never venture too far from.

Red-faced Spider Monkey

Ugly monkey red faced spider monkey.
Victor Silvares, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Red-faced spider monkeys have bright red faces! The skin on their faces is hairless and such a vibrant red colour it almost looks painted on. Their bare red mugs resemble clown makeup, giving them a constantly surprised expression.

Like a bad hair day, these monkeys have unkempt fur. Their long limbs and tails make them look gangly and awkward when climbing around the trees. With their scraggly appearance and glowing scarlet faces, it’s no wonder red-faced spider monkeys aren’t considered lookers.

Crab-eating Macaque

ugliest monkeys in the world, crab eating macaque

The crab-eating macaque, also known as the long-tailed macaque, is a primate native to Southeast Asia. Only in Indonesia do they eat crabs. They dive for them in the mangrove swamps. They also eat fruits, seeds, bark, flowers, leaves and roots. It has a dirty habit. They spit out seeds that are larger than 3 – 4 mm (0.1 – 0.15 in). This way, they avoid filling their stomach with seeds they can not digest.

They live in various habitats, from mangrove swamps to rainforests, coastal forests, shrubland, towns and villages. In urban environments, they will take food passively and by force, leading them to become a nuisance to the locals.

They have also been introduced to several other countries, much to the dismay of the local wildlife. They were included in the 2014 “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species” as they are thought to be the reason behind the decline in certain bird species.

Bald Uakari

ugliest monkeys in the world, bald uakari
Devon Vergiels, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Apart from having a bald head, the bald uakari has a red face like it is permanently embarrassed. Their red face, though, is a good sign of their health. The redder, the better. So a male with the reddest face stands the best chance of mating. Their face is skull-like because they have almost no subcutaneous fat.

During the wet season, they live in the canopy of the flooded forests along the Amazon River in Brazil and Peru. Unlike other arboreal monkeys, they have short dumpy tails that offer little help balancing. Their powerful lower jaw lets them specialise in opening unripe fruit.

Sadly though they are a vulnerable species, they are threatened by poaching and habitat loss due to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. It is difficult for the population to increase at a fast rate. A female can only give birth once every two years.

Hamadryas Baboon

ugliest monkeys in the world, male hamadryas baboon being groomed by female
Male hamadryas baboon being groomed by a female.

The hamadryas baboons are the ugliest baboons going and also the most aggressive. A male won’t tolerate one of his females wandering too far or showing interest in another male. They retaliate with visual threats and biting the female.

A hamadryas baboon troop can number in the hundreds with no single leader. The troop can be broken down into small groups. Each group contains one dominant male, his harem of females, their babies and young low-ranking males.

They live in the horn of Africa from Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Eritrea. Their range also extends into Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They prefer habitats like arid grassland, rocky areas and savannas. They always retreat to the safety of the rocky cliffs to sleep.

Hamadryas baboons are omnivores. The plant life they eat is dictated by the time of year. They eat leaves from the Dobera glabra and sisal in the dry season. During the wet season, when the land is green and full of life, they eat blossoms, grasses, roots, seeds and bark and leaves from acacia trees. They will feed on birds, insects, reptiles and small mammals all year round.

Stump-tailed Macaque

The stump-tailed macaque, also known as the bear macaque, has thick fur covering their body, but their face and stumpy tails are bald. As they grow older, the red-pink face darkens, and they can become completely black. Like all other macaque species, they use cheek pouches to store food. They live in wet, evergreen forests of southern China, west Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Malay Peninsula. The only population not living in their typical forest habitat live in the Himalayan region of northern India.

Unlike other macaques, they have thick muscular bodies better suited for living on the ground rather than moving through the trees. Fruit is a staple of their diet, but they also consume a large portion of eggs, insects and small animals compared to other macaques. They are peaceful monkeys with any aggressive behaviour usually resolved quickly without much drama.

Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

ugliest monkeys in the world, golden snub-nosed monkey
Jack Hynes, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We have had the proboscis monkey on this list for having a big nose, and now we have the golden snub-nosed monkey on the list for having a squashed nose. Their nose is flat for good reason when you live in the snowy mountainous forests of Central China, where it can reach – 8°C. The last thing you want to happen is to lose your nose to frostbite.

Although they may be ugly, they have a cute strategy to keep warm at night. They group together on tree branches, with the youngest in the middle and with the adults on the outside. By sharing their body warmth, they can survive the harsh winter nights.

Their diet follows the seasons, with lichen eaten in the bleakest months of the year. In the summer, they feed on the more delicious fruits and seeds.

What Is the Ugliest Monkey in the World?

Most people consider the proboscis monkey to be one of the ugliest monkeys in the world due to its distinctive appearance, which includes a long and fleshy nose and a large, swollen stomach.