The Monito Del Monte

The Monito Del Monte - Doodlewash watercolor sketch of colocolo opossum, Dromiciops gliroides nearly endangered species

Deep in southwestern South America in places like Chile and Argentina, you might be lucky enough to stumble upon a monito del monte which means “little bush monkey.” Though it earned this name, it’s not actually a monkey at all, but a tiny little marsupial that’s about 8–13 cm (3.1–5.1 in) in length. It lives in the thickets of South American mountain bamboo in the Valdivian temperate rain forests of the southern Andes. It’s notable as the only surviving member of an otherwise extinct order dating back more than 40 million years, the Microbiotheria, giving it another nickname of “living fossil.”

The monito del monte is able to grasp the trees it lives in with its tail, but the tail also serves another important purpose. Their tails have the ability to store fat which helps them to hibernate during the winter when food is in short supply. When it comes to mating, they are monogamous and the females carry the young in their pouch until they are mature enough to leave after about 5 months. They are then nursed in a nest and often carried on the mother’s back. The young continue to remain in association with their mother even after weaning.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this little guy as Near Threatened due to, you guessed it, habitat loss caused by human expansion, including removal of the trees in which they live. Luckily, the monito del monte does occur in some protected areas and research is underway on the island of Chiloé into the species’ ecology and natural history, in hopes to inform future conservation actions. Hang in there little bush monkey, help is on the way!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue,  Permanent Pale Green, Azo Yellow, and Neutral Tint. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink and second pen with black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

 

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
60 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Looks like this one is playing hide and seek. Another nice portrait in honor of protection of the species.

  2. Jessica Seacrest 1 year ago

    So flipping cute! And look at the detail of the little nails- great Doodlewash! I like that sepia ink 🙂

    • Author

      Aww thanks Jessica! 😃💕 Glad you liked him… I really love the sepia ink. Seems to work well for many of these little brown critters. Hehe

  3. Curious to the Max 1 year ago

    We’re two of a kind
    It’s tail stores fat
    just like mine

  4. Arts & Rhymes 1 year ago

    Aww how adorable! 😄

  5. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    I love, love, love your doodlewash of this sweet thang! It looks so nervous, I just want to hug it and tell it things will be okay (which would be lying but I don’t want to scare it anymore than it already is). :} <3

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! 😃💕He’s such a cute little critter I knew I just had to doodlewash him. Yeah… he’s a bit terrified though… poor little guy!

  6. Jodi 1 year ago

    Hang on sweet little one! You are toooooo adorable! And ok – talking about you too Charlie ! LOL! Awesome doodlewash tonight Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi! 😃💕And lol… you do that on purpose to make me blush!!! 😊

      • Jodi 1 year ago

        Maybe…. hehe! But turns out your awfully cute and sweet anyway so it is easy 🙂

  7. anniedrawsthings 1 year ago

    What a cutie! Love his eyes and whiskers1

  8. memadtwo 1 year ago

    What a face! but he does look a bit scared…yes! hang in there little buddy! (K)

  9. Kari 1 year ago

    It has the sweetest face! A marsupial not in Australia..that’s cool! I agree with Teresa that I want to hug it! Beautifully rendered! ❤️

    • Author

      Awww thanks Kari! 💕😃 Glad you liked this one! They’re so darn cute these little guys… hope they’ll stick around in spite of us for a lot longer!

  10. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    What a sweet little creature, and the size, the are so small. Thanks for all the interesting facts. I do hope they get the help soon.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon! 😃💕Aren’t they super cute? I had never even heard of these little creatures before. Glad you like this!

  11. Jacob 1 year ago

    Oh they’re so wonderful! His little hands… and I love how you did his little whiskers – they cap off the cuteness! So so adorable. He looks like he’s spiralling his way up the bamboo to safety.

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob! Yeah… I think he’s pretty much running away from us, which is probably a good thing. After all the crazy creatures, I’m somehow on a cute streak now… though I have no idea what’s coming today yet. Lol

      • Jacob 1 year ago

        Haha, I just assume this is the case now. It’d be wrong to change it, as the rush seems to work!

  12. Carmel Campbell 1 year ago

    Now this little guy is CUTE!

    • Author

      Thanks Carmel! 😃💕Figured it’s good to mix in a dash of cute to this series. Some of these creatures are better describing as just “intriguing” so it’s fun to doodlewash some cute every once in awhile!

  13. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    When I first saw it, I thought you’d lost your mind, Charlie! 😜 What?! This is NOT a monkey! 🐒 So I read on and discovered that you had not gone bananas! 🍌 I was relieved, my friend. 😄💕 Fantastic doodlewash! 🎨👍💕🌈

    • Author

      I can’t confer or deny the mind loss, however, I DID know this wasn’t a monkey! LOL Thanks Jill! 😃💕 I’m glad you liked him. I had never known this little guy existed before!

  14. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Fingers crossed for this dear creature. Well rendered and well said Charlie! 🙂

  15. artandmoondreams 1 year ago

    Wow! Such a cute portrait, heart-melt worthy eyes…lovely painting of a delightfully cute animal who has such an adorably cute, albeit exotic, name. (insert liberal helping of sweet adjectives…this feature is that adorable!) Thank you for sharing.

    • Author

      Aww thanks Haunani! 😃💕 I knew I just had to doodlewash him when I discovered this little one! Yeah, that name is probably the most uncommon part about it!

  16. Teri C 1 year ago

    Aw, what a cutie! With another sad story thanks to us humans.

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! 😃💕 Yeah, I keep hoping to find a happier story, but the less common the creature, the more likely humans are driving it to extinction.

  17. Oh I love this doodlewash Charlie. Another adorable little bundle of fur. Plus another new one for me. This one definitely reminded me of my little pet possums from years ago ( not so rare Monodelphis domestica- with a tiny frame and a clinging tail).

    • Author

      Thanks Rebecca! 😃💕 I bet your pet possums were super cute! Actually the other name for this little one is colocolo opossum, though it’s actually more closely related to a kangaroo (the lineage on this guy is confusing because its so ancient!). But that tail is definitely possum-like…hehe

  18. Jui 1 year ago

    This is such a cute little animal! Sad to hear that it is in the list as ‘Near Threatened’. Lovely painting.

    • Author

      Thanks so much! Glad you liked the doodlewash of this little creature. 😃 Yeah, sadly, this species is moving toward endangered, but there’s still hope things might turn around for them through conservation efforts.

  19. debiriley 1 year ago

    another cutie – pie ! great job Charlie!!

    • Author

      Hehe… Thanks Debi! 😃💕 I’m always excited when I find a rare creature that’s actually cute! I like to doodlewash cute things. 😊

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        You are Welcome! and Charlie you doodlewash *CUTE* ever so wonderfully!!!!!
        So – get to work on those kids’ CUTE stuffed animals, geesh, you could make tons of money! 🙂

      • Author

        Hehe… awww Thanks Debi! 😃💕Would be so super cool to have a serious of Uncommon Plush! Oh, if I have more time, what I could do!! 😊

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        yes!! I was just saying that same thing to another friend! Are we all…. in the same boat?!
        if so, time to look for that Island yonder!

  20. itsmyhusbandandme 1 year ago

    Love the eyes. Great pic.
    JP

  21. kathiwerner 1 year ago

    So cute how it is looking to us!

  22. kathiwerner 1 year ago

    And I must hurry up with a suggestion as the month is coming to an end: the gavial (crocodile species with very many tooth). It did inspire me for a Benni episode before.

  23. Cathe 1 year ago

    Wow what a cute little critter and a marsupial! So cool, lovely rendering. Thank you for sharing all these details of these endangered animals this month.

    • Author

      Hehe… thanks Cathe! 😃💕I never know whether I prefer just a cute animal or the challenge of making a weird animal look cute! It’s been a really fun month, so I’m sort of sorry to see it end tomorrow!

  24. So freaking cute, Charlie, just like you! I’m sorry I’m so far behind on blogging. In fact, I should be working right now lol. Had to peek in. Looking forward to seeing where you go in April! 😀

    • Author

      Hehe… so happy you snuck away from work to take a peek Sis!! Thanks!! 😃💜Hope everything is going well with work! Just posted my April adventure… hope you’ll play along at some point! 😉

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