The very name “spider monkey” conjures up some interesting visuals, but these New World primates are far less unusual than the name suggests. These social animals received an interesting name because they hang upside down to sleep and look a bit spider-like with their arms and legs dangling!
Here are some other interesting facts you might not know.
Spider monkeys can weigh up to 14 pounds and average 3-5 feet in height. They can live up to 22 years in the wild. They have no thumbs, but their prehensile tail allows them to grab onto branches and navigate their way from tree to tree. They are also most active during the day, foraging for food in the early morning.
Spider monkeys are matriarchal, which means that females hold leadership roles and make decisions for the group. They are also very social, living in groups up to three dozen strong. At night, they break into smaller groups for sleeping. They spend much of their time in the canopy of forests and are very talented when it comes to swinging, hanging, and navigating their way through trees. They will sometimes even hug! A group of spider monkeys is called a troop!
Since they spend the vast majority of their lives in treetops, their food comes from things they can find in the forest’s canopy. The largest part of their diet consists of fruits, nuts, and leaves. They will also eat bird eggs and small insects as available. Their hydration comes largely through the foods they consume. Spider monkeys do not hunt but break into smaller groups to forage.
Like most animals, spider monkeys have developed a system for communication. This allows them to do things like indicate food sources and warn each other of danger. Over time, they have developed a large variety of calls, screeches, barks, and other interesting sounds. As you can imagine, they can be very noisy, especially since they live in large groups!
Spider monkeys are interesting to watch, making them popular among visitors. You can see one for yourself on your next Wild Animal adventure!