Our Zootles readers are enjoying their newest issue, Great Apes–it’s always intriguing to learn about animals who are so similar to us, and yet so different.

On television, people often refer to apes as monkeys. What’s the difference between an ape and a monkey? The most obvious is that monkeys have tails, and apes do not.  Like many monkeys, however, most great apes spend lots of time in the trees, swinging, playing, sleeping, and eating. They love to eat fruits, leaves, berries, flowers, nuts, and even insects. To drink, they slurp the water that collects in leaves.

Most great apes live with their families. Gorillas and chimpanzees live in larger groups; orangutan families are often simply a mother and child. Ape families teach their young all the essentials to living in the forest, including how to make a night nest in just a few minutes.  For an ape baby, there is little danger of falling while up in the trees, because the babies know how to hold on tight. Apes have thumbs on both their hands and feet.

There is still much to be learned about apes, and scientists like Jane Goodall continue to observe them in the wild. Kids can record observations about their own neighborhood animals–your family may be surprised by what is learned!