September 24, 2012 | In: Animal facts for kids
Spider monkeys are not very popular in the world, are found only in the southern part of Mexico and some tropical regions of Central and South America. There are some debates in the scientific world regarding the exact number of species of spider monkeys: some experts will include all such monkeys in one species while others say that there are five species of this genus. At maturity, spider monkeys weigh between 8 and 9 pounds (3,5 to 4 kg).
Their hair is coarse, ranging in color from ruddy gold to brown and black, hands and feet are usually black. Heads are small with hairless faces. The nostrils are very far apart, which is a distinguishing characteristic of spider monkey.
Monkeys can be considered acrobats in the primate’s world. Unlike other monkeys, they do not move with all four limbs, but rather are swinging from branch to branch with their arms and use their tail as the fifth member.
Spider monkeys live in trees, but that does not mean that they do not move on the ground too. Generally, they are found in the highest and largest trees, to the branches where they find food.
These monkeys have a very special social structure, not to say strange. They live in united communities, composed of 18 up to 30 individuals. What is strange, compared to other species of monkeys, is that they don’t go in search of food as a unite group, but only a few monkeys “delegated” walk through the woods in search of food. All the monkeys in the group gather then, to play, fight and care for each other, but during the day, they are divided into small groups.
Although they are eating several types of herbs (about 125 different species of plants), when it comes to food, spider monkeys prefer only ripe fruits. And, as in a forest, there are not too many ripe fruit found in one place, the monkeys are traveling relatively large distances in search of them – the males are searching the fruits on a surface of at least 300 hectares, while the females on only 200. This is the general rule, males travel further than females and generally they spend more time taking care for each other – that as a way to establish the males higher on the social ladder.
When they are looking for food, once one of the monkeys sees a tree loaded with fruits, makes a loud scream to notify the others.
As for children, young spider monkey dependants to their mothers care for a long time. Adults, even the group leaders are very tolerant with the young ones, which are fragile and their bodies are frail until the age of one year. They are worn by mom until they reach two years, but continue to keep in a close range and depend on it until about three years and a half.
Unfortunately this spider monkey is threatened with destruction of its habitat due to tropical deforestation. While being hunted by indigenous peoples and used as a food. Spider monkeys were used as lab material for all kinds of experiences. We hope that the measures taken will save these monkeys species from extinction.