Fun Black-handed Spider Monkey Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 14, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
You will love these black-handed spider monkey facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

This spider monkey is one of the biggest spider monkey species. These monkeys are a part of the New World monkeys group and are also referred to as Geoffroy's spider monkey.

Due to their major role in the seed dispersal process, they are one of the main protectors of the forest ecosystems in many habitats and locations, which is why they are so important. These animals eat leaves, flowers, insects, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

If you are trying to search for for black-handed spider monkey costa rica, black-handed spider monkey baring teeth, black-handed spider monkey sexual dichromatism, or even black-handed spider monkey hand, then you're in the right place!

This article will tell you all about the habitat, food, reproduction system, and life of these animals! Read on to know more about these interesting primates.

If you would like to read other similar articles, you should check out drill monkey and bush baby.

Black-Handed Spider Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black-handed spider monkey?

The black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) is a diurnal spider monkey that primarily resides in South America and Central America.

What class of animal does a black-handed spider monkey belong to?

This spider monkey species is a monkey that belongs to the Mammalia class. It falls under the genus Ateles, which also includes six other species of spider monkeys. Other spider monkey subspecies include the black spider monkey, the brown-headed spider monkey, the Guiana spider monkey, the brown spider monkey, the white-bellied spider monkey, and the white-cheeked spider monkey.

How many black-handed spider monkeys are there in the world?

There isn't any accurate and verifiable data that can attest to the exact number of these monkeys currently present in the world.

Where does a black-handed spider monkey live?

These primates can most commonly be found throughout countries in Central and South America. They can be found in Columbia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, and Nicaragua.

What is a black-handed spider monkey's habitat?

Spider monkeys are arboreal creatures that love to reside in treetops and canopies at high altitudes. They can be primarily found in semideciduous trees in forests, mangrove trees in forests, and rainforests, cloud forests, and other forests found in tropical areas.

Who do black-handed spider monkeys live with?

Geoffroy's spider monkeys and other spider monkeys are extremely sociable and live together in large groups. Sometimes these groups include more than 35 individuals.

You might see them hopping in conjunction from different branches in the zoo. During the day, they often split up into smaller groups in order to find food, both in the wild and in the zoo.

Being together in groups helps them be safe from predators, an ordeal that they only deal with in their natural habitat, not at a zoo.

How long does a black-handed spider monkey live?

In the wild, these animals commonly live for more than 24 years. On average most males and females live for a duration of 27 years. On the other hand, reports say that in captivity some black-handed spider monkeys have lived up to 47 years.

How do they reproduce?

The process of reproduction is mainly spearheaded by a female black-handed spider monkey present in Central and South America. They are often very selective in choosing a mate.

The mating takes place within a two to three day period. The gestation period for these animals lasts between 226 and 232 days and their body changes drastically during the reproduction process. In the wild, these animals generally only give birth once every two to four years producing a single offspring.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List has listed these primates as an Endangered species. They only give birth every two to four years.

Black-Handed Spider Monkey Fun Facts

What do black-handed spider monkeys look like?

They have especially long limbs, which are often compared to the limbs that spiders have, and are known for their graceful moves. Their prehensile tail is often considered to be their fifth limb because of how it helps them to pick up food such as nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, and insects within their habitat.

They use their tail to move from one tree to another tree in their habitat or in the zoo.

Their weight is within the 13.3-19.8 lb (6-9 kg) range.

The color of their body generally ranges from brown and black to white, gold, and rust. Since the spider monkey is one of the largest species, they get a lot of predators, however, their weight and hook-like hands protect them.

Habitat loss is a big problem for the black-handed spider monkey species.

How cute are they?

These animals are pretty cute since they are social creatures that love physical affection and have gracefully long limbs. You may find them residing within a group, as they like to hang out with other primates.

How do they communicate?

They mainly communicate through different types of vocalizations and calls. They 'bark' when they're threatened, and when they're uncomfortable they use a 'whinny' sound. They also communicate via screams, squeaks, and screeches, and nonverbal gestures. Primates are able to distinctly recognize the black-handed spider monkey sound.

How big is a black-handed spider monkey?

The overall size of this species varies depends on the length of their prehensile tail. Overall, their body length and size averages between 12-24.8 in (30.5-63 cm).

Out of all the spider monkeys, the black-headed spider monkey is the largest out of all the New World spider monkey species. The weight of an average black-headed spider monkey is around 24.25 lb (11 kg).

How fast can a black-handed spider monkey move?

On average, the black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) has a speed of 34.7 mph (56 kph). Their speed will differ if they're in captivity in a zoo or on a run from predators. In a zoo, their speed will tend to be slower in some circumstances, especially if they're not running away from predators.

How much does a black-handed spider monkey weigh?

When it comes to their weight amongst these monkeys, the average monkey weighs somewhere between 13.3 to 19.8 lb (6-9 kg). Males often tend to weigh more than females. They are two to three times heavier than the swamp monkey.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females within this species are merely referred to as male black-handed spider monkeys and female black-handed spider monkeys. Even though their legs and arms and tail are all slender and long, their overall chest and body length is pretty short. They make up for this with their long limbs.

What would you call a baby black-handed spider monkey?

After they are born, baby black-handed spider monkeys are often referred to as a young, until maturity. A female will typically mature at the age of four years, whereas a male will achieve maturity around five years. They eat nuts, seeds, and fruits and forage with a group.

What do they eat?

These animals are often called frugivores because a majority of their diet consists of seeds, nuts, leaves, flowers, and fruits. However, on some occasions, they also proceed to eat insects, larvae, arachnids, and bird's eggs.

The responsibility of locating food sources lands on a female, but if an amenable food source cannot be located, smaller subgroups go out to forage throughout the forest.

Are they poisonous?

This species isn't known to be poisonous or a group that tends to excrete venom. Having said that, they do have some predators such as snakes that do use poison in order to take their life or harm them in some way.

Would they make a good pet?

One of the biggest reasons why the black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) is Endangered is due to the wide pet trade practice that is prevalent throughout the world. Humans are especially prone to getting diseases and infections from spider monkeys.

Since these animals also have limber hands and feet and a predisposition for aggression during a conflict, they can seriously injure an individual.

Did you know...

Spider monkeys do not possess opposable thumbs, causing them to have hook-like hands which makes it easier for them to move through the trees.

Spider monkeys are very important for the conservation of forests because aid in the growth of new vegetation through the dispersal of nuts and seeds throughout the forest.

The black-handed spider monkey tail or their prehensile tail is a unique limb that is quite hairless.

The dangly thing on the bottom of a female Geoffroy's spider monkey is actually their oversized clitoris, developed to retain and distribute urine as they walk.

Are black-handed spider monkeys endangered?

Yes, they are endangered. Due to the ever-growing practice of pet trade, more young spider monkeys are being captured at a young age and being taken into captivity.

Many often end up at a zoo, away from their families. Other issues such as habitat loss and deforestation has also caused their population to dwindle.

To be mentally and physically healthy, it is very important that Geoffroy's spider monkey, or spider monkeys in general are close to other spider monkeys or groups of similar species. This could pertain to those that are in the wild, as well as those that are in a zoo.

Why is the black-handed spider monkey named after Geoffroy?

This monkey is named after French naturalist, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, in order to honor him and his contribution. These primates like to dangle off trees upside down using their tails, often resembling a spider shape, giving them the 'spider monkey' half of the name. Their prehensile tail is so strong that is often referred to as their fifth limb.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these baboon facts and gibbon facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable black handed spider monkey coloring pages.

Black-Handed Spider Monkey Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects, arachnids, eggs

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

13.3-19.8 lb (6-9 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?

central america, south america

How Long Were They?

12-24.8 in (30.5-63 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Ateles geoffroyi

What Do They Look Like?

Brown, black, white, gold, rust

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

puma, jaguar, snakes, eagles, humans

What is their Conservation Status?

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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