There are over 30 species of langurs, or “leaf monkeys” in Asia. Silver leaf langurs can be distinguished from other langur species by the silver tips of their fur.
What They Eat
Langurs are folivores, meaning the majority of their diet is leaves. Silver leaf langurs will also eat small amounts of fruits, seeds, flowers, shoots and buds.
Where They Live
Silver leaf langurs range across several countries in southeast Asia. These tree-dwelling monkeys are found in many types of forest including those in mountains, coastal areas, swamps and along rivers.
What They Do
Silver leaf langurs live in social groups composed of a single male who defends and mates with multiple females. All-male groups also occur.
How They’re Doing
The number of silver leaf langurs is decreasing due to extensive habitat loss, especially due to land clearing for oil palm plantations. In some parts of their range, other threats to these langurs include hunting and capture for the pet trade.
Where in the World
Body length: 18-21 inches
Weight: 8-17 pounds
Lifespan: 20 years in the wild; longer in human care
Where at the Zoo
- Newborn silver leaf langurs have bright orange fur. By the time they are five months old, the orange fur is replaced with the browns, grays and blacks seen in adults.
- Despite having a very long tail, langurs do not use their tail to hold or manipulate objects. Instead, the tail is used for balance as they travel through the treetops.
- Silver leaf langurs often have a “potbelly” appearance. Since their leaf diet is nutritionally poor, their enlarged stomach contains bacteria for fermentation and holds a great amount of food.
- During the Minnesota growing season, Zoo staff carefully collect and freeze leaves to continue to supply the langurs with a varied diet over the winter months.
- Trachypithecus cristatus is known by several common names including silvered leaf monkey, silvery lutung, silvered langur, and various combinations of those names.
Although classified as Near Threatened, silver leaf langur populations are declining and nearly meet the criteria to be classified as Vulnerable. The primary threat to silver leaf langurs is extensive habitat loss, especially due to land clearing for oil palm plantations. In some parts of their range, other threats include hunting and capture for the pet trade.
Most of what is known about this species in the wild comes from just a portion of its range. In order to improve silver leaf langur conservation, more extensive field research is needed throughout the rest of its range.
What You Can Do to Help
Tropical forest species like langurs, tapirs and tigers are losing their homes when rainforests are cleared to produce palm oil. Many food items, cleaning products, and cosmetics are made with palm oil. When you shop, you can choose products from companies that have committed to using sustainable palm oil. Learn more and use a shopping guide to make smart choices.