Spider monkeys usually live in groups of 20 to 30, but groups of up to 100 have been seen in the wild.
Spider monkeys usually live in groups of 20 to 30, but groups of up to 100 have been seen in the wild.
Photograph by Lukas Blazek, Dreamstime

Spider Monkey

Spider monkeys have long, thin arms with hooklike hands that allow them to swing through the trees. They do not have opposable thumbs.

Common Name:
Spider Monkeys
Scientific Name:
Ateles
Type:
Mammals
Diet:
Omnivore
Group Name:
Troop
Average Life Span In The Wild:
22 years
Size:
14 to 26 inches
Weight:
13.25 pounds

The brown-headed spider monkey has a prehensile tail, which means it can grasp and can be used like a fifth limb to grab trees. During the day, the spider monkey searches for fruit, which makes up the main part of its diet. They will also eat flowers, seeds, bark, leaves, and small insects during the dry season when fruit isn’t available. They spend most of the daylight hours climbing and swinging through the high canopy of trees.

The brown-headed spider monkey lives in a large community of about 20 to 100 male and female monkeys. They split into smaller groups for feeding. Females usually give birth to only a single baby each year or two.

Young monkeys are carried on their mothers' stomachs until about 16 weeks old. Then they are strong enough to ride on their mothers' backs. All brown-headed spider monkey infants are born with a pink face and ears.

Spider monkeys hug each other and wrap their tails around each other. They are very intelligent and have robust memories.

They were named spider monkeys because they look like spiders as they hang upside down from their tails with their arms and legs dangling.

Their genus name is Ateles, which means “imperfect.” This refers to the fact that they don’t have thumbs.

Hunting the brown-headed spider monkey is now prohibited in Ecuador, but humans have killed them for their meat for hundreds of years.