Spider Monkey
{Spider Monkey, Oakland Zoo}
Picture of spider monkey at the Oakland Zoo
Name: Spider Monkey
Scientific name:Ateles geoffroyi
Range: Mexico, Central America, South America
Habitat: lowland and mountainous rain forests (areas with high concentration of fruits and trees).
Status: Endangered
Diet in the wild: fruits
Diet in the zoo: fruits
Location in the zoo:  not currently on exhibit
Physical description:

Bodies are approximately 20in. long and the prehensile tail makes them a total of aroung 5 ft. long. They weigh approximately 13 to 25 lbs. Spider monkeys come in golden, red, buff, gray,brown, and black. 

General information:
Spider monkeys tend to join together in small groups where fruit is plentiful. They live in social groups of two the thirty members. Their social behaviors are learned, along with survival skills, from the older members of the group. Young females learn parenting skills by observing the mothers of the group and by helping. The long slender arms and legs with the prehensile tail allow for a variety of locomotion mannerisms. They may walk upright or down on all fours. With the help of their tail, they may travel below branches, swing between branches, and also leap to another tree. Spider monkerys are also known to steal food and babies of the howler monkeys. Females bear one young after 226 to 232 days of gestation. They have no breeding season. The species is endangered. There were only approximately 400 left in 1993. The reason this has occurred is because of intense hunting and massive habitat destruction.

Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations:

The spider monkey lacks a thumb, so they are not very good manipulators. They have a prehensile tail that makes up for the lack of a thumb because it can be used like a hand to carry objects with . The tail has a fleshy pad on its underside which allows them to hang securely with hands free.The tail is strong enough to grip a limb and support its entire body weight.

Comments about the spider monkeys of the Fort Worth Zoo:

The spider monkeys at the Fort Worth Zoo all came from Alabama except for one, which came from South Dakota. The male has been sterilized so that no more breeding will take place. Three births have taken place among them since they got there. The oldest spider monkey at the Fort Worth Zoo is recorded to have been born in 1966.

Personal Observations:

When humans come into area around them, they become very excited. They throw fruit or anything available and run around very energetically. They make threatening noises and gestures. The spider monkeys also act very humanlike in some ways. The games that they play together look like games that human children play. They also seem to be worried about their appearance somewhat the way humans do. They are always putting their hair back into place and picking bugs off each other.

Current research:

To see more information on spider monkeys visit the Birmingham Zoo site at 
www.birminghamzoo.com/ao/mammal/ghspider.htm and the Oakland Zoo site at 
Also to see information on other primates look at the web pages made by Christine Nguyen on the Orangutan and by Brandi Williams on the Chimpanzee.

Page author: Devon Montgomery
email: dev88@hotmail.com
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Source of information:

Ft.Worth Zoo keeper
Ft. Worth Zoo information plaque