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Monkey vs. Baboon: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 10, 2023
Monkeys are a diverse group of primates, while baboons are a specific type of large, terrestrial monkey known for their distinctive appearance and behavior.

Key Differences

Monkeys are a broad group within the primate family, including many species with varied sizes, behaviors, and habitats. On the other hand, baboons are a specific type of monkey, easily recognizable by their large size, heavy build, and distinctive facial features, such as elongated muzzles and often hairless rumps.
Monkeys are found in both the New World (Americas) and the Old World (Africa, Asia), with significant variations in appearance and behavior. Baboons, however, are native only to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, adapted to a range of environments from savannas to forests.
Many monkey species are arboreal, living primarily in trees, and exhibit a wide range of dietary habits. While, baboons are more terrestrial, spending a lot of time on the ground, and have a diet that includes a large proportion of grasses, roots, and other ground-based food sources.
Monkeys can exhibit a vast array of physical characteristics, from the pygmy marmoset, which is one of the smallest primates, to much larger species. Whereas, baboons are among the larger and more robust types of monkeys, with some males reaching up to 40 kilograms (88 lbs) in weight.
Social structures vary widely among different monkey species, with some living in small groups and others in large communities. Baboons are known for their complex social systems, often forming large troops that are governed by intricate social hierarchies and interactions.

Comparison Chart


Both New and Old World; diverse habitats
Mainly Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

Physical Characteristics

Varies widely among species
Large, heavy build, elongated muzzle, hairless rump


Many are arboreal; varied diet
More terrestrial; diet includes grasses and roots

Size Range

From very small (like pygmy marmosets) to larger
Generally larger and robust

Social Structure

Varies from small groups to large communities
Known for large, complex social troops

Monkey and Baboon Definitions


A term colloquially used to refer to any primate.
At the zoo, the kids were excited to see the monkeys.


A large terrestrial monkey native to Africa and Arabia, known for its distinctive face.
The baboon foraged on the savanna floor for food.


Any of various long-tailed primates excluding apes.
We saw a monkey playing with its young in the jungle.


A monkey with a robust build and complex social behaviors.
In the troop, the dominant baboon led the others.


A mischievous person, especially a child.
The child was a little monkey, always getting into trouble.


Any of the large monkeys of the genus Papio, characterized by a long, dog-like snout.
A troop of baboons gathered at the watering hole.


A playful, clever, or mischievous animal known for its curiosity.
The monkey at the sanctuary was known for its clever antics.


Known for their large size, baboons are among the world's largest monkeys.
We observed a baboon sitting majestically on a rock.


A small to medium-sized primate that typically has a tail.
The monkey swung gracefully from branch to branch.


A primate with a distinctive appearance, including a hairless rump and long canine teeth.
The baboon's loud bark echoed through the forest.


Any of various tailed primates of the suborder Anthropoidea, including the macaques, baboons, capuchins, and marmosets, and excluding the apes.


Any of several large terrestrial African and Arabian monkeys of the genus Papio, having an elongated doglike muzzle and bare calluses on the buttocks.


(Slang) A brutish person; a boor.


An Old World monkey of the genus Papio, having dog-like muzzles and large canine teeth, cheek pouches, a short tail, and naked callosities on the buttocks. 13


A foolish or boorish person.


One of the Old World Quadrumana, of the genera Cynocephalus and Papio; the dog-faced ape. Baboons have dog-like muzzles and large canine teeth, cheek pouches, a short tail, and naked callosities on the buttocks. They are mostly African. See Mandrill, and Chacma, and Drill an ape.


Large terrestrial monkeys having doglike muzzles


Are all monkeys similar in size?

No, monkey sizes vary greatly, from small species like marmosets to larger ones.

Can monkeys live in cold climates?

Some monkeys, like the Japanese macaque, can live in cold climates.

What defines a monkey?

Monkeys are primates with tails, varying in size and habitat across different species.

Are monkeys intelligent?

Yes, many monkey species exhibit high levels of intelligence and problem-solving abilities.

How do baboons socialize?

Baboons live in complex social structures called troops, with intricate hierarchies.

Can baboons be aggressive?

Baboons can be aggressive, especially if they feel threatened or during social conflicts.

What is a baboon?

Baboons are large, terrestrial monkeys known for their distinctive faces and robust bodies.

Where do baboons live?

Baboons mainly live in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Can monkeys swim?

Some monkey species are capable swimmers, but not all.

How do monkeys communicate?

Monkeys communicate through vocalizations, facial expressions, and body gestures.

Are baboons monogamous?

Baboons are not typically monogamous and have complex mating behaviors.

Do baboons use tools?

Baboons have been observed using tools for activities like grooming or accessing food.

What is a group of monkeys called?

A group of monkeys is commonly called a troop or a barrel.

How do baboons groom each other?

Baboons groom each other as a social activity and to maintain hygiene, strengthening social bonds.

What do baboons eat?

Baboons have an omnivorous diet, eating fruits, grasses, seeds, and occasionally small animals.

Do monkeys use tools?

Some monkey species, like capuchins, use tools for tasks like cracking nuts.

What is the lifespan of a baboon?

Baboons can live for about 20 to 30 years in the wild.

What is the smallest monkey species?

The pygmy marmoset is considered the smallest monkey species.

Are monkeys endangered?

Some monkey species are endangered due to habitat loss and other threats.

Do baboons have predators?

Baboons have predators, including leopards and large birds of prey.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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