What Animals Eat Monkeys?

Written by: Akeem Eletu
Last updated on:

While they may look like many other primates, monkeys spend most of their time on treetops and even make beds there to pass the night. You would think they are far from the lines of danger. So you may still wonder, what animals eat monkeys?

Here is a piece that discusses which animals eat monkeys and how they do it. 


There is a long line of predators that prey on monkeys, regardless of their size. Some are arboreal, some are terrestrial, some are aquatic, and others fit into the three categories. Check out the list below:


The philistine eagle is one of the most proficient monkey hunters. It is so proficient that it is also known as the monkey-eating eagle. The philistine eagle eats many other smaller animals, but monkeys form a part of its staple diet, even though it’s  a small portion of it

Another great monkey hunter bird is the Harpy Eagle. This is aprolific monkey hunter with a body shape that makes it very successful in hunting monkeys. You typically find them in the rainforests of South America, and they are often called the Brazilian Harpy Eagle. 

Unlike many other eagle species, it has shorter but broader wings that allow it to navigate the forest canopies of the Amazon forest. The nature of its wings, being shorter but wider, makes it a deadly monkey predator in the jungle. With its wings, it can move freely and maneuver through the big trees and thick forests of the Amazon to pick up prey easily. Monkeys are usually the victims of this game.

You can find them regularly picking up monkeys, even those as large as the spider and howler monkeys that weigh up to 15 pounds!

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Jaguars also make the list of monkey eaters in tropical rainforests. Their special hunting skills make them great hunters of monkeys of various sizes. 

First, they do not make noise when they approach the monkeys because, like many other cats, they have footpads that hardly make a sound. Second, they do not only hunt in the day but also at night when monkeys are no longer on edge, and they can climb trees to get to their target. Finally, jaguars can travel as much as 6 miles at night when searching for prey. 

And when they find one, a powerful bite is all it takes to bring down a monkey. Jaguars are reputed to have the most powerful bites of all the big wild cats. Their bites are so powerful they can bite through the hard skin of a crocodile.


Cheetahs also eat monkeys, but they usually eat only baboons. This is because they share the same habitat. Cheetahs live on open grasslands with few trees, unlike jaguars that can live in thick canopy rainforests. Baboons also like to live in semi-arid habitats like open savannah grasslands as long as there are trees that guarantee their safety at night. 

You will notice cheetahs chasing baboons, especially when they leave the comfort of trees to drink water. They typically catch up with the baboon before it reaches a tree for safety, and then they deliver the powerful bite that gets the meal ready. 

This process is never smooth because the desperate monkeys are always trying to make it to a tree. The monkey’s fate is usually decided in about a minute, amidthe thick dust raised from the ground during the chase. 


Hyenas are scavengers and opportunistic eaters. You will usually find them stalking injured prey and even attacking in groups. They  usually eat old and weak monkeys caught off guard that are too weak to fight or baby monkeys which are yet to master the rules of the wild.

While you may find that hyenas usually have contact with baboons because of their choice of a similar habitat, they often come in contact with other monkey species because they sometimes live close to the edges of forests that house these other species. 

It is never surprising to find baboons hanging on trees and taunting their predators, occasionally beating and upsetting them as they hang on the trees for safety. There have also been cases of a herd of baboons beating a predator profusely to escape imminent death.

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Chimps are not monkeys, and they often hunt monkeys for food. You probably thought chimpanzees were monkeys and would not eat other monkeys. However,  that is not accurate. Some researchers even argue that female chimps often take maternity leave from the family unit to give birth because if they do not, the newborn could become the next meal for the adult male chimps in the unit.

There are a few explanations for this cannibalistic behavior. One explanation is that chimpanzees hunt and kill monkeys for food to compensate for the scarcity of food in seasons when there is a lack of food. Another argument is that they kill monkeys in the hunt for meat to trade with female chimpanzees for sex. Others argue that they eat monkeys to cut down on another population which is competing for food with them. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that chimps eat monkeys.

They usually catch a young monkey, and then they bite and pull on the head in an attempt to pull it off from its skull.


Baboons have been observed many times at the end of a pool, fighting for their lives, wiping hard on crocs as they try to free themselves from the deadly bites of the crocodile. 

But the battle ends quickly when the crocodiles deploy their killer hunting techniques. They drag the baboon into the water, twirling and turning violently as they sink their teeth harder into its body while trying to drown its victim. It is almost always a violent struggle, but the fight is about 90% of the whole task of securing the meal. Sometimes, the stress is avoided with a calculated ambush and the delivery of a fatal injury. 

Crocodiles and alligators also live in rainforest areas, and access to monkeys is limitless. The method is always simple with an ambush and a deadly bite. No matter how agile and nimble the monkey is, the method will always render it powerless.


Although they might seem intelligent, the fact remains that nature has its order, and monkeys happen to be prey just as much as they are predators themselves. This list is not exhaustive, but it features some of the top-ranking animals that should be considered in any collection of the animals which eat monkeys.

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