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Spider Monkeys: Acrobats of the Canopy printer.gif

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Its long arms and legs give the spider monkey its name. Having these strong and long limbs help this animal to be one of the best-equipped arboreal (living in the trees) animals found the rainforest.

A spider monkey can swing through the rainforest canopy and hang upside down suspended by their tail. This gives them a good, long reach for their favorite foods: fruit, nuts, leaves, and flowers.

Spider monkeys are 3-5 feet in length, with their tails accounting for about 60% of its length.

Spider monkeys are active during the day, making them easy to spot along the river banks while we paddle by. Most spider monkeys live in groups of about 30 other spider monkeys, and they make a lot of noise together. Their cries, yelps, and shrieks make them easy to spot even through the crowded rainforest canopy.

Unlike many Amazonian monkeys, Spider monkeys don't have thumbs. Other monkeys, like the Capuchin and Squirrel Monkey have thumbs that help them hang on to branches and peel fruit. The spider monkey relies primarily on its tail for hanging safely in the treetops.

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But, just because a Spider Monkey lacks a thumb doesn't mean it can't get around. Spider monkeys sometimes look as though they are flying through rainforest canopy. They swing effortlessly. It's been recorded that with one swing of the arm, a spider monkey can cover 40 feet.

For further exploration, check out these web sites

Wilderness Classroom's Rainforest Library: Spider Monkey

National Geographic's Animal Facts and Photos

Honolulu Zoo's Spider Monkey Page

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