Monkey : Spider monkey
Ateles fusciceps rufiventris
Hunting and habitat loss and fragmentation are the main culprits for the critically endangered status of these animals. An updated account of their numbers in the wild has not yet been completed but is needed to determine the true extent of the loss in nu
They are mainly frugivorous with 83% of their diet comprising of the mature, soft parts of a very wide variety of fruits. They will also eat young leaving, flowers and roots. They find the majority of their food it the top layers of the canopy and rarely move below the canopy.
This subspecies is located in eastern Panama and along western Columbia occupying dry forests, humid forests and cloud forests.
Spider monkeys live in groups of around 25-30, however they are not often seen all together in the same place. Generally, they will form small subgroups of between 2-4 so that there is less competition for food and the group is less conspicuous to predators. Unlike many primates at maturity it is the females that are likely to disperse from the group and males stick together and form strong bonds.
Spider monkeys reach maturity after about 4 years. Their gestation period is long at 226-232 days and they will not have another baby until over two years has past. As they take a long time to mature and have to wait a long time between births their population can take a long time to recover if something like hunting or disease killed a number of them.
The spider monkey brain is twice the size of a howler monkey brain of equivalent body size! This is likely due to their slow development but also their diet of ripe fruits which requires them to remember which plants are fruiting at which time of year and where they can be found.
At The Zoo
We have a very old pair from Cricket St. Thomas Wild life park when it closed down in 2011. “Buddha” our big male is now 26 years old (2015)!