Spider monkey

Everyone knows who the monkey is. However, not everyone knows who the spider monkey is. This is one of the most amazing and interesting animals on earth. It got its interesting and unusual name because of the incredible external resemblance to spiders. They have a fragile body, a small head, and very long, prehensile limbs and a tail. These features allow it to be compared with spiders, which also have the same long and tenacious limbs. Locals call such little animals kats.

View origin and description

Photo: Spider Monkey

Photo: Spider Monkey

The spider monkey belongs to the mammals, a class of primates. She is a member of the family of broad-nosed monkeys. The family, in turn, is divided into many subspecies. To date, it has about three dozen subspecies.

It is surprising that until the 16th century monkeys were called “opits”. However, the Russian explorer Afanasy Nikitin, after a long journey to India, brought the name “Abu Zina” from there. Translated from the local language, it was interpreted as the father of fornication. Since then, it has taken root and gradually changed into a “monkey”.

Appearance and features

Photo: Animal Spider Monkey

Photo: Animal Spider Monkey

Representatives of the family of broad-nosed monkeys are considered one of the largest monkeys that live in this area. The body length of animals is from 40 to 65 centimeters. They have a very long, thin tail. Its size is almost equal to the length of the body, and sometimes exceeds it. On average, the length of the tail is from 50 to 90 centimeters. The body weight of one adult is from 2.5 to 9-10 kilograms.

Spider monkeys have pronounced sexual dimorphism. Adult females are significantly larger than males.

Spider monkeys have a small head and a slender, toned body. The body is covered with thick hair. In the area of ​​​​the head, the coat lies in such a way that a sensation of the presence of a comb is created, there is a light, beige, or yellow stripe. The color of the hairline can be from dark brown to deep black. It depends on the climatic conditions and habitat of the animal.

Video: Spider Monkey

These animals have very long, hook-shaped and prehensile limbs. Both hind and forelimbs are four-fingered. The thumb is atrophied, or is present in its infancy. It does not play any role in grasping, movement. The forelimbs are slightly longer than the hind limbs. The tail is long, thin and very strong. Monkeys can hang freely on a tree branch, while holding only on the tail. At the bottom of the tail there are so-called ridges that allow the tail to be so tenacious and strong. The tail is the fifth limb of animals. They can easily capture food, various objects with them.

Spider monkeys are divided into coats and howler monkeys. Koats are distinguished by the fact that the length of hair in the shoulder girdle is much longer than in the limbs and abdomen.

Where does the spider monkey live?

Photo: Black Spider Monkey

Photo: Black Spider Monkey

As a habitat Animal habitats choose tropical forests with dense vegetation, as well as mountainous terrain.

The geographical regions of the monkey’s habitat:

  • central and southern regions of America;
  • Bolivia ;
  • Peru;
  • Guyana;
  • Brazil;
  • Mexico.

Spider monkeys inhabit mainly tropical forests on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. A monkey spends most of its life climbing trees. They live only in the upper part of the trees, where predators, and even more so humans, cannot reach. Animals live only on those trees that have a fluffy, wide crown, abundantly covered with leaves. Tall trees, many branches, rich, diverse vegetation are indispensable conditions for the existence of this species of mammals. They can exist near the places of human settlement, since they are not at all afraid of it. Monkeys often take food from human hands.

Often they choose a mountainous area as a region for living. Characterized by living in mountain forest thickets at an altitude of 700 to 1700 meters above sea level. They are an integral part of the flora and fauna of rainforests. They spread the seeds of various types of vegetation in the area. They tend to drop down the fruits of trees, flowers, and seeds that they feed on. This serves as a food source for other inhabitants of the area.

What does the spider monkey eat?

Photo: Spider Monkey

Photo: Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys feed mainly on plant foods. The basis of the diet is juicy, green foliage. However, monkeys are not limited to foliage alone.

What is included in the animal’s diet:

  • flower plants;
  • seeds;
  • vegetables, fruits – dates, mangoes, bananas;
  • caterpillars;
  • bird eggs;
  • honey;
  • mushrooms;
  • nuts;
  • softwoods;
  • small insects in rare cases.

It is worth noting that green vegetation makes up only 20-25% of the total diet. 35-40% are fruits and vegetables. During the rainy season, when fruits are difficult to find in the rainforests, the monkeys make up for the lack of fruits with seeds. Animals willingly eat young shoots, buds. On average, monkeys eat from 1.5 to 3 kilograms of food per day. They spend about 4-5 hours a day on eating. Moreover, these monkeys prefer exclusively ripe and juicy gifts of the forest.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Animal Spider Monkey

Photo: Animal Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys are not solitary animals. They tend to live in groups. In one group there are up to two dozen adults. Each group, in turn, is subdivided into smaller subgroups of 4-6 individuals. As a rule, small subgroups are separate families. Association in small subgroups can be carried out according to interests. Males are more likely to separate from the group, especially in search of food. A separate group chooses certain trees for living. Monkeys practically do not descend from the tops of trees to the ground. It is not natural for them to walk on earth. Each large pack has its leader, the leader.

Monkeys are distinguished by their desire for cleanliness. Some individuals spend a lot of time brushing their fur.

Monkeys are most active during the daytime. They spend most of their time in the tops of trees. There they get their own food and hide from predators. Animals easily and quickly jump from branch to branch. They love to play with each other, travel, explore new territories. About half of the day is spent resting. Monkeys spend a lot of strength and energy jumping through trees. They need to recuperate.

For the night, animals choose the crowns of tall trees. At night, they mostly sleep. Different individuals choose places close to each other for the night. Babies always sleep with their mother. Monkeys feel the approach of danger. If they feel threatened, the approach of a predator, they run away with great speed, escaping on the tops of tall trees. Monkeys are considered active, friendly animals. Aggression is extremely rare. Fights can occur between males if both claim the same female. The strongest male representative wins. The loser simply moves away in search of another lady.

In search of food, adults are able to move relatively long distances. They cover up to three kilometers. When meeting new individuals, it is common for monkeys to conduct a ritual of acquaintance. Adults may shake their heads, shake tree branches, and scratch their chests. These animals tend to make a fairly wide range of different sounds. They can squawk loudly, squawk, neigh, bark, etc.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Cub spider monkey

Photo: Baby spider monkey

The mating season for spider monkeys is not seasonal. They can mate at any time of the year. The male chooses the female he likes and begins to care for her. The female observes and evaluates him. If she is ready to enter into marital relations with him, she cleans his fur. After the female has reciprocated, the male marks the territory. The individuals then mate.

The female bears only one baby. Pregnancy lasts 8 months. Babies are born weak and helpless. The mother devotes all her time to taking care of the babies. She gives offspring every 3-4 years. For the first year and a half, babies spend riding on their mother. From 4-5 months of age, babies begin to eat various foods of plant origin. Until this period, the source of nutrition is mother’s milk. Individuals reach sexual maturity at the age of 3.5-4.5 years. They begin to exist independently at the age of five and years. Only the female is responsible for raising the cubs.

It should be noted that during the period of marriage and bearing cubs, individuals of one group are extremely negative towards strangers. During this period, aggression, attacks, fights are not ruled out.

Cubs who have reached the age of one begin to learn to move independently, climb trees. During this period, they show interest in other individuals of the group, especially the same babies. They tend to frolic and play. The average life expectancy in natural conditions is 35-40 years. The life span of females is somewhat longer than that of males. Able to live in captivity. They adapt well to environmental conditions. In captivity, they are also capable of producing offspring.

Natural enemies of the spider monkey

Photo: Spider Monkey

Photo: Spider Monkey

In natural living spider monkeys have enemies that can hunt them.

Enemies of representatives of the broad-nosed monkey family:

  • birds of prey – eagles, ermines, harpies;
  • leopards;
  • jaguars;
  • ocelots.

Great damage to the population of spider monkeys is caused by human activity. Deforestation, the development of ever larger territories, as well as the capture of cubs. In addition, hunters and poachers exterminate a large number of animals in order to obtain skins and meat.

Population and species status

Photo: Arachnid baby monkey

Photo: Spider monkey cub

To date, the number of this species of monkeys is significantly reduced. Considering that one sexually mature female gives offspring in the amount of one cub every 3-4 years, it is quite difficult to restore the population and increase the number. In addition, cubs are born very weak and helpless. A large number of them die in the first months of life. Active deforestation and poaching cause serious damage to the population of the species. According to the Association of Zoologists, in 2005 the population of this primate species was 1400.

Spider Monkey Conservation

Photo: Red Book Spider Monkey

Photo: Red Book Spider Monkey

In order to preserve the species, the spider monkey is listed in the Red Book. In Brazil, hunting these animals is strictly prohibited and violation of this law is a criminal offense. Spider monkeys have been given Vulnerable status. To date, eight of the existing nine subspecies of these monkeys are on the verge of complete extermination.

In Brazil, zoologists are developing and implementing a set of measures to preserve and increase the species. Special zoos and national protected areas are being created, in which the most suitable conditions for the life and reproduction of individuals are created. The largest and most famous zoos are Curitiba and Sorokaba. There is also a special captive breeding program.

The spider monkey is an amazing animal. She impresses with her grace, grace and dexterity, she is able to jump from branch to branch at such a speed that it is quite difficult to even follow her. Long limbs and a unique tail are found only in this species.

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