Colombian spider monkey

Ateles fusciceps rufiventris

Two brown-headed spider monkeys sit on their climbing frame in Hellabrunn Zoo and look into the camera. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Critically endangered
  • Family
    Atelids (Atelidae)
  • Weight
    Up to 10 kg
  • Habitat
    Tropical rainforests

Endangered climber

The Colombian spider monkey is one of the most endangered primates on the planet. It is highly agile thanks to its long lanky limbs and slender body. In addition to its arms and legs, the spider monkey also uses its long prehensile tail as a “fi fth limb” to climb. The tip of the tail is hairless with touch-sensitive tactile cells for better grip.

A colombian spider monkey sits on a wooden platform, its left hand and tail holding onto a rope above its head.

Thumbless hands

Spider monkeys live almost exclusively high up in the canopy of the rainforest. They are perfectly adapted to arboreal life with four hook-like fingers and no thumb. The lack of a thumb, lost through evolution, allows the four fingers to grasp branches and swing through the treetops with greater ease.

Male Colombian spider monkeys stay with their natal group for their entire life, while females leave their group at about the age of five.


Distribution spider monkey