Black-handed Spider Monkey

(Ateles geoffroyi)

Mammals | Central & South America

Animal Info

The Zoo has one spider monkey, Lucy, who was born in 1975. They are called spider monkeys because of their slender limbs and the way they move through the trees using their prehensile tail.

Status in the Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Endangered. Also known as the Central American spider monkey, this mammal is a very common monkey. In fact, there are places in the world where the forests have up to 200 spider monkeys per square mile.


In southern Mexico and Central America, the spider monkey inhabits upper levels of the canopy of tropical rainforests.


Black-handed spider monkeys eat 90% fruit and plants, including young leaves, flowers, seeds, roots and bark. They also eat insects and larvae.

Did you know?

The tail of a spider monkey, which is about 3-feet long, is prehensile meaning that it is able to grab a hold of things. This special adaptation allows the monkey to swing through trees and explore the forest at the speed of a person running on the ground.

A spider monkey’s arms are longer than its legs.

Adults can weigh up to 16 or 17 pounds.

A baby rides on the mother’s back with its prehensile tail twined around hers.

The black-handed spider monkey is dark brown with black hands and a white ring of fur around the face.

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