Spider Monkey
Ateles geoffroyi

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Primates
FAMILY: Cebidae

Length: head and body, 20-40 inches; tail, 20-35 inches; weight, 13-15 lbs.

Coastal forests of Mexico, Central America, and parts of northern South America, including Educador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana and Brazil.

Lowland rain and mountain forests, upper canopy.

Wild - Herbivore, mainly fruits and nuts, some buds and flowers
Zoo - Primate biscuits, fruits, vegetables


  • Vision -- eyes are forward giving binocular vision. Ability to judge distance is critical for an animal that lives in the treetops.
  • Arms and legs -- they are long and when walking on all fours appear spider-like. Arms are longer than legs being more important in locomotion through the treetops. These monkeys, in the wild, rarely descend to the ground.
  • Brachiation -- regarded as an excellent brachiator, (second only to the gibbon), they are able to move quickly through trees to escape predators.
  • Tail -- long, flexible, prehensile, and acts as an "extra hand". It is able to support the animal's entire weight, allowing it to hand and retrieve fruit from lower branches.
  • Social Unit -- associate in small groups of 2 to 8 individuals which are small units of a main band numbering 15 to 25. Bands are somewhat territorial (varies with season) centering around food supplies and lodge trees. In this way, the monkeys can secure a food source as well as receive additional protection from predators.

Varies according to species, but numbers are declining due to expanding commerce, timber and rubber trade (loss of habitat).

"Mammals of the World", Vol. 1, Walker
"A Handbook of Living Primates", J.R. Napier
"Animal Encyclopedia", Vol. 10, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek