The 5 Ugliest Monkeys In The World

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Written by Janet F. Murray

Published: June 9, 2024

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While there are many different monkeys worldwide, some look stranger than others. Some may even be considered nondescript or downright ugly monkeys. However, all agree that they are intriguing and worth a closer look. So, let’s look at what makes these five the ugliest monkeys in the world.

1. Proboscis

animals with big noses: proboscis monkey

The proboscis monkey is one of the strangest and most bizarre-looking monkeys.

©David Evison/

The proboscis monkey is one of the strangest and most bizarre-looking ugly monkeys. It is easily recognizable by its large, bulbous nose. The male monkey’s nose can grow up to 7 inches long and is used to attract mates. However, the females have much smaller noses. So even though humans may find this an ugly monkey, its nose is certainly a highly attractive quality amongst its species. 

Proboscis monkeys are indigenous to the island of Borneo, their only natural habitat. They live in swampy mangrove forests near rivers, and they are excellent swimmers, often diving into the water to escape predators.

Their diet consists mainly of leaves, fruits, and seeds. While the monkeys do eat some insects, they are not a significant part of their diet.

Only an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 proboscis monkeys remain in the wild. Therefore, it is essential to protect this species from extinction.

2. Bald Uakari

The bald uakari is among the ugliest monkeys worldwide, so it deserves mention.

©Ipaat – Public Domain

Bald uakaris are a species of short-tailed monkeys that are found throughout the Amazon rainforest. These ugly monkeys are easily recognizable by their bald, crimson faces and tufted whitetails. Although they may look strange to us, their red, hairless faces signify virility and health. However, seeing a monkey with long shaggy fur and a completely bald red face is peculiar.

Bald uakaris are relatively small, with an average body length of about 12 inches. They weigh between two and four pounds, with the males usually larger than the females. Their faces are a bright red because of tiny blood vessels very close to the skin, which is why they are sometimes called “scarlet fever uakaris.”

Bald uakaris are considered vulnerable. Thankfully, there are now several conservation efforts underway to help protect these fascinating creatures.

3. Chacma Baboon

Species Of Mammals

Chacma baboons are a species of monkey native to Southern



©Grobler du Preez/

Chacma baboons are a species of monkey native to Southern Africa. They are the most nondescript looking of all baboon species. For instance, their dull brown fur is not much to look at compared to their mandrill cousins, with their unique, colorful faces and plush fur. In addition, chacma baboons have long snouts, long, sharp canines, and harsh angles to their faces. Therefore, they are often called “dog-faced monkeys.”

Another slightly unsettling quality of chacma baboons is their red or blue posterior. While the exact reason these primates have colorful rear ends is unknown, several theories exist. One view is that color serves to attract mates. Another idea is that the color helps the monkeys to communicate visually with each other.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the chacma baboon belongs on the list of ugly monkeys in the world.

4. Spider Monkey

Spider monkey

Spider monkeys have long, thin spider-like limbs and tails, but their faces make them part of the ugliest monkeys around.

©Ana_Cotta, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

There are many bizarre-looking monkeys in the world, but spider monkeys might just be the most bizarre.! With their long, thin spider-like limbs and tail, they look more like creatures from an alien movie than real-life animals. But while their appearance may be a little off-putting, there’s also something incredibly fascinating about these odd little creatures native to South and Central America.

For starters, spider monkeys are incredibly agile. They can easily swing through the trees, using their long tails as a fifth limb. They’re also one of the few monkeys that can swing through the trees and walk on all four, meaning they’re just as comfortable on the ground as in the forest heights.

But while their physical abilities are impressive, their intelligence really sets them apart. For example, spider monkeys use tools to either scratch themselves or for their food.

So, while they may not be the cuddliest creatures in the world, there’s no denying that spider monkeys are amazing animals.

5. Tarsier

Animals with large eyes – Horsfield's Tarsier

The tarsier’s enormous eyes take up more than half its face.

©Ryan M. Bolton/

There are hundreds of different monkey species worldwide. While they all have their unique features, some definitely stand out more than others. Tarsiers are among those strangest-looking primates that you can’t help but stare at in fascination.

These small primates are native to Southeast Asia and countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Tarsiers are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. They are also one of the few entirely carnivorous primates in the world, as their diet consists mainly of insects.

While they may be small, tarsiers are actually quite large when it comes to their eyes. Their eyes are so big that they make up almost 75% of their entire head! And while you might think that having such huge eyes would be an advantage for these animals, it makes it quite difficult for them to see in the daytime.

That’s why tarsiers are primarily active at night when it’s darker, and their eyes can adjust better. Tarsiers are also known for their long legs. Their legs are so powerful that they can leap up to six feet in the air.

While they may look like strange and otherworldly creatures, tarsiers are fascinating animals. So, the next time you see one, take a moment to appreciate all its unique features.

Summary of the 5 Ugliest Monkeys in the World

These monkeys have much to be desired in the appearance department.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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