Red-faced spider monkey

Scientific name 
Ateles paniscus paniscus
A spider monkey at ZSL London Zoo

What they look like: The red-faced black spider monkey is rather well described by its name. They have long, sleek, black hair and a bare red or pink face that stands out from the rest of the body. They are incredibly agile and have hook-like hands and a gripping, prehensile tail allowing them to swing with ease through rainforest. They have long limbs and a proportionately small head, this in collaboration with the use of their tale as an extra limb, can make them appear spiderlike – earning them their name.

Animal facts:

  • These monkeys live in large groups of 20-30 individuals with subgroups of two to three.
  • They communicate with each other in these large groups by screaming, whistling, barking and grunting, scratching their chests and shaking trees, nodding their head and swinging their arms.
  • They gather food in smaller subgroups of up to three monkeys feeding for the first and last two hours of their waking day.
  • They remember past relationships with other spider monkeys by licking each other’s chests and erogenous zones.

What they eat:

Fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and insects

Habitat: High branches in the rainforest

Where they live: Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana and Brazil

Threats: Forest destruction and hunting

Life span
40 years
Conservation Status