Spider Monkey

Common Name: Spider Monkey

Type: Mammal

Family: Cebidae (New World monkeys)

Spider monkeys are normally found in tropical rainforests of Central and South America, and in regions in north like Mexico. They reside in the lush green rainforests, mangrove jungles and flat lowland to mountain forests. Spider monkeys favor wet forests more willingly than dry regions and are frequently found living in the higher canopy and never coming near the ground. These spider monkeys were in abundant throughout Costa Rica; due to hunting, now they are limited to some parts. Many national parks of Costa Rica are having these species of monkeys. Costa Rica is home of 4 species. The spider monkey is an extended slim monkey with color that varies from black to gold. These are mostly found along the inland waterways between Tortuguero and on the mainland of Costa Rica.

Size: The length of a spider monkey is 14 to 26 inches (35 to 66 cm) with prehensile tail; it is 27 – 30 inches.
Weight: The average weight of a spider monkey is ranges between 12-20 lbs. (6-10 kg).

Diet: They are omnivore and have a diet that made up to 90 percent of nuts, seeds, fruits, insects and eggs in the wild. Their diets in captivity are primarily different types of fruits, like bananas, oranges, apples. They are also being fed carrots, lettuce, celery and white bread.

Average life span: The average life span of Spider Monkey is around Twenty years. They can live from 15-27 years.
Habitat: Spider monkey usually chooses to live in rainforests, wet jungles and mangrove forests, and they do not come to the ground. They live most of the in the upper canopy, preferring undisturbed life.

The female spider monkey selects a male from her group with whom she likes to mate. They sniff their mates to check the readiness for copulation. Female’s spider monkeys give birth every two to three years. The female carries the baby in her womb for 7.5 months and having the baby for almost 10 months from its birth. She carries the little one first on her front and when the baby becomes larger then on her back. The baby grips to the mother’s coat and wraps his or her tail around the base of the mother’s tail.

Spider Monkeys are primates from the genus Ateles. They are called New World monkeys because they came mostly in the tropical forests of South and Central America from Southern Mexico to Brazil including Costa Rica. They live in an arboreal lifestyle so they lived mostly on upper layers of the rainforest. Spider Monkey is considered one of the largest New World monkeys with unduly long limbs and long prehensile tail. The male has an average weight of 10.8 kg and the females are much lighter with an average weight of 9.66 Kg. This prehensile tail may be up to 89 cm long and very flexible. It has hairless tips and skin grooves that are similar to fingerprints. They used this tail as their fifth hand so together with their four limbs they sway from one tree to another. When they hang themselves in trees they look like a spider in a web. That is the reason they were called Spider Monkey. Their hair is coarse. Their colors are mostly ranging from ruddy gold to brown and black. Heads has hairless face and their hands and feet are usually black. One distinguishing characteristic of Spider Monkeys is their nostril is very far apart.

Costa Rica is having four species of these monkeys: the white-faced Capuchin, the spider monkey, the squirrel monkey, and the howler monkey. Costa Rica monkeys are available throughout the countryside and are an adventure to watch.

Spider Monkey’s main sustenance is mostly fruits and nuts. But if food level is low they tend to adopt and include insects, tree barks and honey in their diet. These primates form groups which thought to have a female leader which plans the feeding system. During mating season, female chooses a male from the group to copulate. Each female bears an offspring on the average of every 3 to 4 years.

Spider Monkey contains seven species. One is the Red-faced Spider Monkey (Ateles paniscus) which can be found in the rainforest of northern South America. They have long black hair with red or pink face. Second is the White-fronted spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth) which can be found in the North – Western Amazon in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Brazil. This type of monkey has a whitish belly and pale patch in the forehead. Notwithstanding with the name they are more orange in color than white. The third specie is the Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek). They live in Peru but can also be found in Brazil and Bolivia. They are relatively large but unlike other primates, they have no thumbs. Fourth is the Brown spider monkey (Ateles hybridus). They are brown mostly but have a patch of white in the forehead as well as white hair on their belly and sometimes they had blue eyes which are highly unusual to spider monkeys. They are mostly seen in northern Colombia and Venezuela. Fifth is the White-cheeked spider monkey (Ateles marginatus), local mostly in Brazil. Sixth is the Black-headed spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps) that lives mostly in Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama. Some of these have black or brown body and a brown head while others have an entirely black with only some white hair on its chin. Last is the Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) which habitat includes parts of Mexico and small portion of Colombia. They often are large and weigh an average of 9 kilograms. These spider monkeys were in abundant in all over Costa Rica but due to hunting, they are limited to few places. These are available in many national parks of Costa Rica. Many species can be found in Santa Rosa National Park, Corcovado National Park, La Selva, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; also may be found in San Vito. Most of thesephoto/images are considered by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as either vulnerable or endangered due to habitat destruction because of logging and land clearing. As well as hunting and they were captured as pet.

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