In the Real World
The term "monkey" can be related to a number of primate species. There are exactly two-hundred-sixty-four different species of monkey spread across the globe. A common trait among monkeys is intelligence, as well as the fact that they have tails, a nonrecurring trait in apes. Most monkeys have prehensile tails: they are able to use their tails to hang and/or swing from branch-to-branch. A group of monkeys may be called a "mission" or a "tribe."
The smallest species of monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset and the largest is the mandrill. Most monkeys prefer to live in trees, but some, such as the mandrill, live on the open savanna. A monkey's diet includes fruit, leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, eggs, and small animals (such as insects and spiders). Monkeys are very social animals and it is not odd to find them in large groups.
Monkeys are commonly known to interact well with humans. Some are used as pets, while others may be used in experiments or to help the disabled. But in some cases, monkeys are seen as pests, as they can do extensive damage to agricultural crops. They are also known to occasionally attack tourists. For this reason, they are sometimes the target of persecution. Though many laws limit this, certain species of monkeys are becoming endangered due to poaching.
Monkeys can also be targeted as symbols of religion, modes of entertainment, and ways of advancing scientific knowledge. They appear in different forms throughout Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as making an appearance in the Chinese zodiac calender. They can also be trained to perform in front of an audience for public entertainment. Their acute intelligence and strong attachment to humans singles them out among the other species of the animal kingdom.
Two monkeys, Jambo and Kwaheri, appear in Nala's Dare and How True, Zazu?. They are minor characters in How True, Zazu?, but serve a semi-important role in Nala's Dare, as they are good friends of the lion prince, Kopa.
- The monkeys that appear in The Lion King films are most likely Green Monkeys.