National Monkey Day

If there’s any day where monkeying around is encouraged, it’s today on National Monkey Day!

The Virginia Zoo currently has two species of monkeys: Bolivian gray titi monkeys and white-faced saki monkeys. “But what about the ones in Asia who swing around?” you might be thinking. Well, those are siamangs and are technically gibbons, which are apes not monkeys. An easy way to tell the difference is to check out their tails, or lack thereof. Monkeys have tails to help their balance while swinging around living their best arboreal life.

Both species of monkeys are currently housed at the World of Reptiles and Friends building that is closed to the public, but never fear! We’re here to give you a primate update.

Two saki monkey
Jackie and Lionel sitting on the branch

Ziggy and Paris (titi monkeys) are located in the Conservatory corridor and have access to an outdoor exhibit next to the Beastro. According to their Keepers, this duo will vocalize when something is “out of the ordinary” or when Junebug, their 6-banded Armadillo roommate, enters their holding area at times.  They are letting everyone know, and you can hear it from outside of the building. It’s very cute as they usually do it together as if they are“singing”.

Male titi monkey on branch

Ziggy is, at the same time, fascinated with Junebug, and loves to watch her, even coming down from higher branches to get a closer look, which they don’t often do.  They are both scale and kennel trained, but they are very shy and do not like for Keepers to get too close.

Female fluffy titi monkey sitting on branch

To learn more about Ziggy and Paris, read our blog “Shades of Gray”.

Lionel and Jackie (saki monkeys) are also located in the Conservatory corridor but can often be seen in their outdoor exhibit. Lionel is a “ladies man” and enjoys following and observing his Keepers. He is not afraid to get close, but is friendly and is good about “social distancing”; Lionel does not touch Keepers or allow them to touch him; he will move away.


Lionel is very curious and always likes to see what Keepers are up to, whether it’s feeding, sweeping, hanging enrichment, etc.  Jackie, Lionel’s mate, likes to curl up and sleep in her “bed” of towels in the box on the shelf.  Lionel is the protector and sleeps above her on top of the box, but doesn’t prefer towels.  Lionel and Jackie are both trained on many behaviors including scale, kennel, nail trims, target and “high five”.  Currently, their favorite food items are peas and corn.

Male saki monkey sitting on branch

To learn more about Lionel and Jackie, read our blog “Monkey Business”.