Rainforest residents

by ZSL on

This autumn, London Zoo's visitors are invited to escape to warmer climes and explore the jungles of South America in London's only living rainforest! So we thought we'd introduce you to some of our lesser known animals in the biome so you know who to look out for. 

Find out who's who in our rainforest walkthrough - we'll add a different species each week: 

Muqui the titi monkey in Rainforest Life at ZSL London Zoo

Muqui and Rusty, our titi monkeys 

If you've stepped into Rainforest Life before, you're sure to have spotted our titi monkeys in the trees, but you might not know their names. Meet our male, Muqui (pictured), who is 20 years old, and lives with 19-year-old Rusty, our female. They have a calm and quiet nature, and tend to stay out of the way of the other more dominant monkeys, like our golden-headed lion tamarins!

Muqui and Rusty eat a wide range of vegetables, boiled egg, and mealworms, but their favourite food items are definitely nuts, like peanuts and walnuts. You can actually feed them yourself and get up close and personal with the pair - find out all about our Meet the Monkeys experience

Did you know? 

These affectionate monkeys mate for life and are often seen sitting with their tails entwined. Titi monkeys are some of the most vocal monkeys, even taking part in duets with other pairs at dawn. 

Our red-footed tortoises 

Look down to the rainforest floor to see if you can spot our five red-footed tortoises, including our youngest two, Baby Gerald and Tortilla. 

The tortoises love to bathe in mud wallows and really enjoy a variety of different foods, including leafy greens and red peppers. We also offer them peeled carrot and mushrooms.

They have a good relationship with the other animals in Rainforest Life. Our tamanduas in particular are such messy eaters, and they enjoy eating the scraps of termant that fall on the floor! 

Tamanduas Ria and baby Bueno with one of our red-footed tortoises in Rainforest Life

Did you know? 

Usually moving at 5 to 20 metres per hour, these tortoises can reach a top speed of 100 metres per hour at a push! They also sometimes make a 'clucking' noise like a chicken. 


Cher the spider monkey at ZSL London Zoo

Cher – Guiana spider monkey

As you leave the walkthrough, make sure you look to your left to spot our spider monkeys. 

Cher, who celebrated the big 30 on 23 June 2021, lives with her partner Branco and son Sonny. You can tell our tree-loving trio apart as Cher has the lightest eyes (almost blue-grey), and quite a pronounced forward-swept fringe, like a member of a 90’s boyband! Branco has a very red face and a slightly turned inward right eye. He is more thoughtful and has quite an intense gaze with dark eyes. Sonny, on the other hand, has a large pink ‘open’ face, and can often be seen marching about or causing trouble.

While Cher can sometimes be a little bit shy, she is quietly clever and is often the first to investigate and figure out different enrichments, and she loves her food which can be quite motivating! Her favourite foods are eggs, peanut butter, avocado and steamed sweet potato. Sonny is known to try and steal his parents' food, but keepers only need to give Cher a glance and a nod and she knows to quickly nip round a corner where they can safely sneak her some treats away from Sonny’s rampaging!

Did you know? 

Spider monkeys are super agile, and have a prehensile tail which can grip onto branches. This gives them an extra limb to hang onto a branch as they swing through the trees in the forests of northern South America. They have a patch of skin on their tail, almost like a palm, which helps them to grip so effectively, so it really is like a fifth hand! 

We'll introduce you to another rainforest resident next week. Escape to the tropics this autumn at the Zoo - book tickets in advance. 

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