Spider Monkeys Yellow River Wildlife


{ ateles geoffroyi }
Spider monkeys have hook-like hands with long fingers and no opposable thumb. They also have a prehensile tail. These adaptations help them swing effortlessly through the trees.


Macon is the white-bellied spider monkey. He has lighter circles around his eyes. He is the sweeter of our two boys and comes down to take food from the keepers’ hands. Macon likes to take his food to the bridge between the two enclosures to eat, so be careful because he likes to spit out any “skin” (apple skin, pear skin, tips of carrots, etc.) and it usually lands on the ground below him. He and Henry are brothers.

Henry is our solid black spider monkey. He is the larger of the two males and less approachable. Unlike most animals with a preference, he seems to like our male keepers. He and Gwen are a breeding pair and were kept separately from Macon at the facility they came from. Even though he doesn’t approach when the keepers are inside the enclosure, he does come up to them when they are on the outside of the fence to get some scratchies.

Gwinnett (Gwen) is a sweet little (even though she’s the heaviest of them all) lady. She’s mostly tan/off-white with some other colors mixed in. While we are still getting to know her personality, she’s already a great addition and loved by animal care staff.


critically endangered status

Critically Endangered

spider monkey compared to a 6ft man

Compared to a 6′ Man

YRWS weight icon

21 – 24 lbs

YRWS lifespan icon

22 Years

YRWS diet icon


YRWS regions icon

Central / South America

Spider Monkeys inhabit the tropical rain forests of Central and South America from Mexico to Brazil. They spend the majority of their days in the treetops. Hunting and deforestation have reduced their numbers to the point that they are critically endangered.


Spider monkeys have long arms and legs, which they use to swing gracefully through the forest. They are one of the largest New World Monkeys. Average body length, not including tail, is 15 to 20 inches, and they stand just under 2 feet tall. Their tails are also very long, up to 35 inches in length, which these primates use as a fifth arm when traversing through trees, or for balance while walking upright. At the tip of the tail, on the underside, is a patch of hairless skin with fingerprint-type grooves that provides more grip. They lack opposable thumbs but have long hands and feet that are hook-shaped, which help them hold branches. They are so agile, they can literally jump from tree to tree.


Spider monkeys are almost completely arboreal and spend their days traversing large areas searching for fruit. They forage in small groups and may combine groups during sleeping hours. They are very vocal, like many primates. When they are faced with danger, they can be seen climbing to the end of a branch and shaking it ferociously. If the threat does not recede, the monkeys may break off branches and throw them in their direction.

Females reproduce once every three to four years. She’ll choose a mate from within her group, and after about 230 days, give birth to just one infant. She’ll carry the infant around her belly during the first month until it is strong enough to ride on her back, using its tail for additional security. Babies will stay close to their moms until they are about 10 months of age.

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