Beastly Beat
Poppin the Colobus Monkey

Poppin shares an exhibit with her two offspring, August and Whittney, and three other troop members named Samantha, Tabitha, and Kix. Colobus monkeys are highly social animals and live in groups ranging from two to 16, and up to 50 individuals! Poppin gave birth to two girls, "August" on August 5, 2008 and "Whittney" on July 25, 2009. She has been an excellent, attentive mother to both of her offspring, and the other females in the group have helped her in raising both young, a common practice for this species.

Colobus monkeys are born strikingly white, and begin to develop their adult coloration at three months of age. Babies will cling to their mother until they are old enough to begin exploring their surroundings. Both August and Whittney are very playful and adventurous, spending their days exploring, swinging, and even hanging from the adults' tails. When the new male, Kix, was introduced to the group, August and Whittney were the first to investigate their new troop member.

A Passing Wind
Colobus monkeys have frequently been referred to as "skunk monkeys" by zoo visitors who happen to stroll by their exhibit. That strong odor that guests detect isn't a result of a natural body odor like a skunk or weasel. And it does not indicate that the enclosures are unclean or not cared for, because the exhibit is cleaned and disinfected daily by zookeepers.

So what's the real reason behind the less than flattering nickname? Colobus monkeys have specialized stomachs, similar to the digestive systems of cows, which help them digest plant cell walls and fibers from their leafy diet. Their large stomach is divided into two different chambers -- fermentation occurs in one and acid digestion in the other. The specialized bacterial microflora that enable the monkey to digest large volumes of leafy material, which is critical to the animal's survival, also leads the emission of... flatulence. So that lingering odor visitors smell in the air is just the result of the monkey's natural process of passing gas.

More About Colobus Monkeys
Colobus monkeys are native to Africa and live in the highest forest strata, rarely descending to the ground. Their remarkable leaping abilities are unsurpassed among other African old world monkeys. The greatest threats to the survival of colobus monkeys are habitat destruction, hunting, and live capture for trade or sale.

Where in the Zoo?
Poppin and the rest of the colobus troop are located near the entrance to the Festival Plaza.

Click here to learn more about colobus monkeys.