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Spider Monkey

Scientific Name:
Ateles geoffroyi geoffroyi


Mexico, Central and South America

Rain forests and mountain forests

(Herbivore) In the wild- fruit, nuts, seeds, buds, flowers, insects and eggs; In the Zoo-commercial primate biscuits and canned food, fruit and vegetables.

305-630mm, tail 635-840mm

Males 7420-9000 g, Females: 6000-8912 g

There is no regular breeding season. Gestation is 226-232 days. One baby is born and is dependent on its mother for about 10 months. Sexual maturity is reached at about 5 years in males and 4 years in females. Females usually give birth every 3 years, earlier if something happens to the young.

In captivity up to 33 years

General Description:
The fur on the head and back is black, brown, or reddish and the face is often marked with a pale mask of unpigmented skin around the eyes and muzzle. The arms and feet are dark and the under parts paler.

Spider monkeys have exceptionally long tails in relation to their body size. The spider monkey has the most highly developed prehensile tail of all mammals and uses it as a fifth limb. The tail can support a monkey's whole weight. Part of the underside of the tail nearest the tip is naked and patterned with fine grooves resembling human fingerprint patterns. This increases friction and thus aids in gripping. The hands are modified with long, curved digits and only vestigial thumbs. They live in groups of 15-20, called troops, with one female being the predominant leader. Usually only one male is in each group. Most feeding is done in the early morning and the afternoon.

Did you know? Spider monkeys are the most adept and acrobatic of all New World monkeys. They are surpassed for their agility only by gibbons in Asia. Spider monkeys rarely come to the ground and feed mainly on fruit and some nuts. In the wild, if approached, they sometimes break off large dead branches of 11 lb. (5 kg) and drop them in an attempt to hit the intruder. Spider monkeys are hunted as food in parts of their range. Two subspecies are listed as endangered.

Where can you find them? Zoos and natural habitats throughout their range.


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El Paso's Zoo Mission
Our mission is to celebrate the value of animals and natural resources and to create opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature.