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What Eats Monkeys? (18 Predators with Pictures)

What Eats Monkeys

Animals that eat monkeys include alligators, snakes, eagles, cheetahs, and chimps.

Some of these animals hunt monkeys as their primary prey, while others may only eat them occasionally.

Monkeys are small to medium-sized mammals that occur throughout the world in tropical and subtropical forests. They are a favored prey item for many predators because they are relatively abundant and tend to live in areas that are difficult for humans to access.

Despite the risk of being eaten, monkeys are important members of tropical ecosystems. They help to disperse seeds and play a role in regulating the populations of other species. In addition, they are a key food source for many animals, including some that are endangered.

Examples of Animals that Eat Monkeys

1. Alligators

Scientific NameAlligator
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangethe United States and China

Alligators are one of the predators that hunt and eat monkeys. They live in freshwater habitats, such as swamps and rivers, and can be found in North America, Central America, South America, and Africa. Alligators are opportunistic hunters and will eat whatever is available to them, including monkeys.

When an alligator attacks a monkey, it will try to drown the animal first. It will then tear the monkey apart with its powerful jaws and eat it. Alligators can kill and eat large monkeys, such as chimpanzees and gorillas, but they usually go for smaller prey, such as monkeys.

2. Boas

Scientific NameBoa constrictor
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangenorthern Mexico to Argentina

Boas are a type of snake that is found in tropical regions throughout the world. Many species of boa constrictor are known to prey on monkeys. These snakes will coil themselves around their monkey prey and squeeze tightly until the monkey suffocates. Boas will then swallow their prey whole.

Boa constrictors are also known to prey on other animals, such as rats, birds and lizards. Some boas even eat other snakes. These snakes have sharp teeth that allow them to slice through their prey with ease. Boa constrictors are not venomous, but they can still inflict a lot of damage with their sharp teeth.

3. Caimans

Scientific NameCaimaninae
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangecentral and South America

Caimans are a type of alligator that is found in South America. These reptiles are known to aggressively hunt monkeys. Caimans will typically wait for their monkey prey to come down to the water’s edge to drink before attacking. Once the caiman has its prey in its jaws, it will drag the monkey underwater to drown it.

4. Cheetahs

Scientific NameAcinonyx jubatus
Type of AnimalMammal

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world and is found in Africa and parts of Asia. These big cats are known to prey on small monkeys. Cheetahs will stalk their monkey prey until they are close enough to sprint and take the monkey down with a powerful bite.

Cheetahs are beautiful animals with distinctive black spots on their fur. They have long legs and a sleek body that helps them run at high speeds. Cheetahs typically weigh between 75 and 140 pounds and can run up to 80 miles per hour.

5. Chimpanzees

Scientific NamePan troglodytes
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangecentral and West Africa

Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans and are found in Africa. Chimpanzees are known to hunt and eat monkeys, both small and large. They will use sticks and stones to break open monkey skulls in order to eat their brains. Chimpanzees also eat monkeys’ intestines as a means of obtaining beneficial bacteria.

Related Article: Do Chimpanzees Eat Bamboo?

6. Cougars

Scientific NamePuma concolor
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeCanada south to Patagonia

Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, are found in North and South America. These large cats are proficient hunters and will often take down monkeys as prey. Cougars typically kill their monkey prey by biting through the back of the neck to sever the spinal cord.

In North America, cougars are found in the western United States, Canada, and Mexico. In South America, they can be found in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil.

Cougars are solitary animals and typically only come together to mate. Females will typically give birth to two or three cubs at a time, and the cubs will stay with their mother for up to two years before they strike out on their own.

Related Article: Do Cougar Eat Cats?

7. Crocodiles

Scientific NameCrocodylidae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAfrica, Asia, Australia and the Americas

Like alligators, crocodiles are also predators of monkeys. They live in freshwater habitats, such as rivers and lakes, and can be found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Crocodiles are ambush predators and will often lie in wait for their prey to come close before attacking.

They have a powerful bite that can easily crush bones. Monkeys are not the only animals that crocodiles prey on, they will also eat fish, birds, and small mammals.

8. Golden Eagles

Scientific NameAquila chrysaetos
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMexico through much of western North America

Golden eagles are another type of bird of prey that is known to eat monkeys. These large birds typically live in Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe. Golden eagles will typically hunt monkeys that are small to medium in size. Once they have their monkey prey in their talons, they will fly to a perch and eat them.

When it comes to monkeys, there are a variety of different species that these birds of prey will target. Some of the more common types of monkeys that golden eagles hunt include baboons, macaques, and vervet monkeys. While golden eagles typically go after smaller monkeys, they have been known to kill and eat larger ones on occasion as well.

9. Harpy Eagle

Scientific NameHarpia harpyja
Type of AnimalBird
RangePanama, close to the border with Colombia

The harpy eagle is a large bird of prey that is found in Central and South America. This eagle is known to hunt and eat monkeys, both small and large. The harpy eagle has very powerful talons that it uses to grip its monkey prey. It will then take the monkey to a high branch in a tree and eat it there.

10. Humans

Scientific NameHomo sapiens
Type of AnimalMammal

Humans are other species that have historically hunted monkeys for food. Humans would eat small monkeys, such as spider monkeys and pygmy marmosets. In some parts of the world, humans even hunted larger apes, such as gorillas and chimpanzees. Today, eating monkey meat is generally a faux pas and no longer practiced.

11. Hyenas

Scientific NameHyaenidae
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica, the Middle East and Asia, all the way to southern Siberia

Hyenas are scavengers that are found throughout Africa and parts of Asia. These animals will eat just about anything, including monkeys. When hyenas kill monkeys, they will typically eat their entire carcass, including the bones.

Hyenas will typically hunt in packs, which makes it easier for them to take down larger prey. However, they are also known to scavenge food from other animals. This behavior is often seen when hyenas steal kills from lions.

12. Jaguars

Scientific NamePanthera onca
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSouth America to almost the far north in Argentina

Jaguars are a type of big cat that is found in the Americas. These animals are some of the most efficient hunters of monkeys. Jaguars will stalk their monkey prey until they are close enough to pounce. Once they have their prey in their jaws, they will suffocate the monkey by crushing its windpipe.

One interesting fact about jaguars is that they are the only big cat in the Americas that can swim well. This allows them to hunt in areas where there is freshwater. Jaguars will also often lay in wait for their prey near water sources, such as rivers and lakes. Jaguars are typically solitary animals, but they will sometimes form small groups when hunting.

13. Leopards

Scientific NamePanthera pardus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAfrica, parts of the Middle East, and Asia, including China, India, and eastern Russia

Leopards are a type of big cat that is found in Africa and Asia. These animals are excellent climbers and often hunt monkeys in trees. Leopards will stealthily stalk their monkey prey before pouncing and delivering a killing bite. Leopards typically eat the entire monkey, including the bones.

Leopards are also known for their spotted coat, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. These animals are solitary by nature and only come together to mate. Leopards have a gestation period of around 100 days and give birth to 1-4 cubs.

14. Lions

Scientific NamePanthera leo
Type of AnimalMammal

Lions are the largest cats in the world and are found in Africa. These predators are known to hunt and eat monkeys as part of their diet. Lions will typically stalk their monkey prey until they are close enough to pounce and kill with a single bite.

Lions typically hunt in groups, or prides, which allows them to take down even the largest of prey. When a pride of lions is hunting, they will work together to corner their prey and then take it down. One lion will usually start the attack, while the others wait nearby in case the prey tries to escape.

15. Ocelots

Scientific NameLeopardus pardalis
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangeevery South American country

Ocelots are a type of wild cat that is found in South America. These cats typically prey on small monkeys, such as squirrel monkeys. Ocelots will stalk their monkey prey through the trees until they are close enough to pounce and deliver a fatal bite.

The ocelot is a nocturnal animal, meaning it is most active at night. This allows the ocelot to avoid the heat of the day and to better stalk its prey. Ocelots are excellent climbers and can leap great distances between trees. These cats are also good swimmers and have been known to dive into the water to catch fish.

16. Owls

Scientific NameStrigiformes
Type of AnimalBird

Owls are a type of bird that is found all over the world. These nocturnal birds of prey are known to prey on small monkeys. Owls will typically fly into the trees where monkeys are sleeping and snatch them up with their sharp talons.

Owls are also known for their big eyes which allow them to see in the dark. They have been known to eat a variety of animals, such as rodents, bats, and even other birds. Owls typically live in forests or other areas with plenty of trees, but they can also be found in urban areas.

17. Pythons

Scientific NamePython
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAsia, Africa and Australia

Pythons are a type of snake that is found in Africa, Asia, and North America. These snakes are known to prey on monkeys. Pythons will coil themselves around their monkey prey and squeeze tightly until the monkey suffocates. Pythons will then swallow their prey whole.

18. Tigers

Scientific NamePanthera tigris
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeRussia and northeastern China

Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are found in Asia. These big cats are known to prey on small monkeys. Tigers will stalk their monkey prey until they are close enough to sprint and take the monkey down with a powerful bite. Tigers generally eat monkeys as a source of protein.


Monkeys are preyed upon by a variety of predators, both on the ground and in the air. Jaguars, leopards, hyenas, golden eagles, cougars, and crocodiles are all known to hunt and eat monkeys. Dogs and snakes also prey on monkeys. Humans are the only species known to hunt and eat monkeys for sustenance.

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