5 Rare Yellow Monkeys in The World (with Pictures)

Yellow monkeys are some of the rarest types of monkeys in the world.

This is a color sometimes seen on adult monkeys but also seen on juveniles within species that are normally darker.

From the Atlantic Coast of Brazil to the Northern regions of India, yellow monkeys are spread around the world.

While they live in small numbers, these monkeys inhabit some of the most important forests of the world.

In some areas, they’re exclusive to protected forests due to their diminishing numbers.

Here are some of the yellow monkeys that still live in the wilderness together with some of their most important physical and social traits.

1. Yellow Baboon

Some of the most widespread yellow monkeys are Yellow Baboons (Papio cynocephalus).

Yellow Baboon. Image by Marc Henrion via inaturalist

These colorful and bright monkeys live in Tanzania, Kenya, and other East African countries.

A species that spreads in high numbers, Yellow Baboons are locally known for also living in areas where humans live, sometimes coming in contact with humans for food.

Males and females of the species have yellow and yellow-brown hairs across most of their bodies.

The face is the exception shows black hairless skin and even white hairs as sideburns.

Brighter hairs grow around the monkey’s face while yellow and black hairs grow on its back.

Yellow Baboons are highly variable in their social structure group numbers.

A group of these baboons can count up to 200 males and females. Most are smaller, on the other hand.

While intriguing due to their appearance, baboons of the species are further known to be raiders of local farms.

Seen as pests in some areas of their habitats, they can move in for fruit and legumes.

As far as longevity goes, Yellow Baboons are also some of the longest-living yellow monkeys as some may live up to 30 years.

2. Golden Lion Tamarin

Golden Lion Tamarin. Image by Daniel Branch via inaturalist

Golden Lion Tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) are among the monkeys with the brightest appearance.

The species is mostly known for the bright orange appearance of the males which may additionally show red nuances to their orange hairs.

Females, on the other hand, are considerably brighter and mostly yellow-orange.

This bright coloring of the female is seen across the body.

Golden Lion Tamarins are also some of the rarest types of yellow monkeys in the world.

They only survive in their low thousands along Brazil’s Atlantic Coast where they live in social groups.

Some of the smallest social groups are specific to these monkeys which count anywhere between 2 and 8 individuals with 1-2 males per group.

Their role in the local forests is important to almost 100 species of plants. Eating their seeds, they play an important role in seed dispersal in their tropical coastal forests.

Living in small numbers, the monkeys are also subject to law protection.

Some of the measures taken to protect them have also been detrimental.

For example, these monkeys have been moved to protected areas of the forests where they breed among them as family members which causes various issues for their future.

3. Gee’s Golden Lutung

Gee’s Golden Lutung. Image by kalyanvarma via inaturalist

One of the species that changes its appearance and also shows yellow hairs is Gee’s Golden Lutung (Trachypithecus geei).

This is a species that shows a combination of golden and brown hairs but also intermediary yellow hairs depending on the seasons.

It turns darker for the cooler months before turning brighter again for the spring and summer.

Reaching a size of up to 19 inches, Gee’s Golden Lutungs have brighter radiating hairs around their black hairless faces.

These hairs tend to remain yellow or bright yellow regardless of the seasons.

The natural habitat of the species includes wet forests of India and Bhutan, areas with heavy rainfall.

Monsoon seasons here are believed to influence the hairs of the species as well.

Apart from seasonal changes or rainy season changes in their appearance, Gee’s Golden Lutungs are also influenced by their geography in the yellow nuance of their hair.

Monkeys of the species that live in India’s Northern Assam region are believed to be those that are yellow for the longest periods throughout the year.

In terms of social structure, they prefer small groups with one dominant male and up to a few other males in groups dominated by females in terms of numbers.

4. Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

Golden nuances are mostly specific to male Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana).

Females of the species are mostly brighter, often yellow-orange across the body. Their long yellow hairs cover the entire body except the hairless face.

These resilient types of monkeys live in some of the coolest parts of the world even at high elevations where other monkeys can’t live.

Surviving in small groups, they prefer to live in one-male social groups with multiple females and their offspring.

The dominant male also shows support in taking care of the young.

3 subspecies of Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys are officially recognized:

  • Moupin golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana roxellana)
  • Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana qinlingensis)
  • Hubei golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana hubeiensis)

If the yellow nuance of these monkeys varies, the offspring tend to be the brightest across all of them.

The face, chest, and belly of the young monkey typically have bright yellow hairs which only darken within years, as individuals mature.

5. Javan Lutung

Javan Lutung

A few species of monkeys show different hair colors in the young as opposed to the adults.

Javan Lutungs (Trachypithecus auratus) are among the species that show a considerable difference in the appearance of their young.

Mostly yellow or yellow-orange, the juvenile Javan Lutung is completely different from the all-black male.

Females of the species are those that resemble the juveniles the most, with their orange-dominated appearance and yellow hairs along their pubic area.

These monkeys live on the edges of the rainforest and prefer small groups as social hierarchies.

One or 2 males live with a few females and their offspring. The yellow offspring of the species is important as females protect them aggressively.

The young may even trigger fights between the females of other groups.

Most groups spend the entire day together feeding, playing, and resting. Javan Lutungs feed on leaves, supplementing their diet with fruit and rainforest flowers.