Zoology

The Habitat of Black Handed Spider Monkeys



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The Black Handed Spider Monkey is found in South America, in the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. In these countries you will find slightly different sub-species, but all can be known as the Black Handed Spider Monkey.

Their preferred habitat is evergreen tropical rainforest, and they mostly choose to live in the upper canopy. There are a number of adaptations by the monkey for this environment.

Their tail is prehensile, this means it grips the branches as a hand would, and gives the animal in essence a fifth limb with which to travel through the trees. It can also hang by the tail in order to use all four limbs to collect and eat food. There is also a bare (hairless) patch on the end of the tail to aid grip.

They have an adapted hand too, with the thumb remaining vestigial while the fingers are long and hook like to better swing through the canopy. This swinging motion is particularly useful in the dense forests of South America, but less so in African or Australian sparse forests, where the animals are more likely to develop gliding or jumping to get from tree to tree. Spider Monkeys can and do jump when necessary, but far less frequently than mammals found in other parts of the world.

The habitat is particularly useful for the choice of diet, which includes ripe fruit and fresh leaves. They will additionally eat seeds, flowers, and the occasional small animal.

They also leaves to rub on their bodies; this is believed to be an insect repellent, which is useful with the particularly high concentration of insects found in the South American Rainforest.

The only known predators of the Black Handed Spider Monkey are Puma and Jaguar, these can be mainly avoided by staying high in the trees. The monkeys try to avoid spending time on the ground because of the danger of predation in these areas, and are considerably less agile when moving on the ground.

Due to their arboreal nature, they receive most of their water from non terrestrial sources, such as tree holes, and pools formed in leaves.

Resulting from loss of their preferred habitat, they are now registered by IUCN as endangered, and are now extinct in some areas where it was previously abundant. This has also been contributed to by hunting of the species.

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