Monkey (Patas)The patas monkey grows to 85 cm (33 in) in length, excluding the tail, which measures 75 cm (30 in). Adult males are considerably larger than adult females. Reaching speeds of 55 km/h (34 mph), it is the fastest runner among the primates. The patas monkey lives in multi-female groups of up to 60 individuals (although much larger aggregations have been reported). The group contains just one adult male for most of the year. During the breeding season, there are multi-male influxes into the group. Once juvenile males reach sexual maturity (around the age of 4 years old) they leave the group, usually joining all-male groups. The adult females in the group initiate movement of the group with the male following their lead. Patas monkeys have several distinct alarm calls that warn members in the group of predators. Different alarm calls are given by different group members (i.e. adult females, adult males, juveniles, etc.) and certain alarm calls are distinctive of different types of predators. Unlike other primates, patas monkeys rarely take refuge from predators in trees. This is most likely the due to the relatively sparse tree cover in patas monkey habitats. While patas monkeys usually run on the ground away from predators, individuals have been observed to attack predators, such as jackals and wildcats. This behavior has been observed in both males and females. The patas monkey avoids dense woodlands and lives in more open savanna and semi-deserts. The patas monkey has a remarkably high reproductive rate, perhaps as an evolutionary response to the high adult mortality rates associated with this strongly terrestrial lifestyle. The patas monkey feeds on insects, gum, seeds, and tubers, a diet more characteristic of much smaller primates.
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