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Black-handed Spider Monkey

About...

Scientific Name:  Ateles geoffroyi

Range:  Coasts of Central America, from southern Mexico to Brazil

Habitat:  Inhabits mature rainforest; they live both on land (terrestrial) and in trees (arboreal)

Diet:  Mostly ripe fruit from a wide variety of plants (over 150 species), also seeds, leaves, and flowers.

Life Span:  Up to 33 years

Description:  Head and body length ranges from 1-2ft (30-60cm), and tail length from 2-3ft (60-90cm).   The upper fur is black, brown, or reddish, and the face is often marked with a pale mask of non-pigmented skin around the eyes and muzzle. The arms and feet are dark and the under arms paler (white, pale brown, reddish, or buff).

Family Life:  Does not appear to have a regular breeding season. Gestation lasts 226 to 232 days and one young is born. For the first four months of life, baby spider monkeys cling to their mother's belly. Soon after, they climb to her back, eventually developing enough independence to travel on their own. Birth occurs at two to four year intervals. Male spider monkeys have nothing to do with the raising of offspring.

Status in the Wild:  Endangered. They are threatened by habitat destruction due to South American agriculture. They’re hunted for food and are locally extinct from most accessible areas.

Nature Notes:  Spider Monkeys are considered New World Monkeys.  Therefore, they possess a prehensile (grasping) tail, which it can use to pick up items as small as sunflower seeds.  This tail acts as a third hand.  They also lack opposable thumbs which are prevalent in Old World Monkeys. Spider monkeys are able to walk semi-upright on two feet, and can also walk/run on all fours.




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