Spider Monkey is a critically- endangered species
Monkeys live in tropical climates, specifically the evergreen forests of Central and South America. They can also be found as far north as Mexico.
Spider Monkeys are arboreal (inhabits in trees). Thriving in the upper canopy, spider monkeys hunt with ease and without the competition of other primates. Also, it should be noted that they sometimes inhabit semi deciduous and mangrove forests.
Spider Monkeys have a distinctive feature from other monkeys, glossy hair that covers their entire body except for the face. Their long lanky arms and prehensile (gripping) tails allow them to move among the trees with ease. They do not have thumbs however they can still grip powerfully to tree branches without any limitations. Another particular feature of the spider monkeys is the patch of skin that they have at the end of their tails. This patch works very similar to a finger, it helps to increase their gripping ability.
Spider monkeys are omnivorous more specifically they are categorised as fruigivorous because of their fruit and seed based diet. They also tend to feed on young leaves, flowers, aerial roots, occasionally bark and wood, honey, insects/insect larvae, and bird eggs. Spider monkeys eat while hanging, climbing or moving. Rarely they feed on insect parts, as well as some animal prey.
Kept in captivity in a zoo, they are fed various fruits, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Spider Monkeys are social creatures living in medium size groups. Individual spider monkeys dwell by themselves, but in close proximity to their medium sized group. However, there is a close association between the mother and the offspring.
This relationship evolved as a response to their feeding patterns. Living in large groups is not favoured in Spider Monkeys since the major component of their diet, seeds, has variable abundance depending mainly on the season. When seeds are abundant, Spider Monkeys will live in large groups because food sources are not scarce.
In the large scheme of things, females have a more leading role than the males do. They are often the ones to lead the group on foraging routes. In addition, the females are better at finding more varied food routes than the males, which enable them to increase the variety of their diet.
Spider monkeys are diurnal, and therefore are awake during the day and asleep at night. They sleep high in trees, generally above the canopy in order to avoid predators. This provides them the advantage of scaring predators away (with ‘barks’) or retreat into sub-groups and run rather than fighting them back. Moreover, aggression is rare, although it is important to note that adult males are still ranked.
Due to the lack of a completely developed thumb, their grooming pattern is different from that of other monkeys and it only happens between mothers and their offspring.
Males sexually mature at the age of five, while females are mature at four years old. Gestation lasts for 226 to 232 days and one baby is born at a time with births occurring in two-to-four-year intervals.
According to the IUCN, the spider monkey was previously assessed as endangered, but has now been reassessed as a ‘critically endangered’ species. They are rapidly losing their habitat to farming. They depend on large areas of tall forests to survive.