Amazon Rainforest

What’s the Difference Between a Monkey and an Ape?

Even though Ape and Monkey are interchangeably in the English language, scientifically, they are not the same. However, monkeys and apes are two both under the same classification of primates. Keep reading to find out the real differences between a Monkey and an Ape.


Monkeys live in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. However, apes are only found in or near tropical rain forests in Africa and Asia. The usually live on the ground and other times in trees.

There are two type of monkeys: New world monkeys and Old world Monkeys. New World (The Americas) Monkeys are found in the South American rain forest. On the other hand, Old World Monkeys, which have similar nose, teeth and feet characteristics as the apes, are found in Europe, Africa and Asia..


Apes don’t have tails, which is one of the biggest difference along with that they’re  generally larger in stature than monkeys. They also have bigger chests and shoulders which allow them to swing from branch to branch. They have usually an upright posture.

Monkeys in general have tails and are shorter than Apes. Nevertheless, some of them don’t have any tail at all. Many of them use their tail as a “fifth limb” to hang or climb trees.  New World Monkeys in general have wide, flat noses. They form monogamous relationships, and don’t have opposable thumbs. Old World monkeys are medium to large in size, have thin noses with down-facing nostrils, are medium to large in size and typically are promiscuous and have opposable thumbs.


Apes are omnivorous. These means that they eat fruits, plants, insects, and small mammals, which includes Monkeys. Monkeys are omnivorous, too. However, they don’t eat other monkeys, instead they eat insects and  small invertebrates. Old World Monkeys are predominantly vegetarian.


Due to their environment lifespans vary greatly between Apes and  Monkeys. Most species live longer in captivity. Nevertheless, is common that Apes lives longer than Monkeys. Both of them have many natural predators, such as crocodiles. Even though,  humans have often encroached on rain forest environments. Actually, some primates are endangered. That’s why environment plays a very important role in the lifespan of Apes and Monkeys. Apes in a not too threatening environment can live up to 60 years. On the other hand, Monkeys can live up to 30 years.


In the Amazon Rainforest there are many Monkey species to learn about. At Yacuma Ecolodge we offer guided private and group tours to meet the fauna of the Amazon jungle. Also, we have the best accommodation and services of  the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Start planning your adventure to the majestic Amazon Rainforest!