Fun Howler Monkey Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 05, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Howler Monkey facts are about monkeys from the family Atelidae.

Howler monkeys are considered to be the largest new world monkeys residing mostly in Central and South America. They belong to the Atelidae family.

Fifteen species of the howler monkey have been recognized and some of them include the Black howler monkey (Alouatta caraya), Colombian howler, Red-handed howler, Brown howler, Mantled howler, and Guatemalan red howler. Black howler monkeys are generally found in Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Red-handed howlers are native to Brazil.

These monkeys have a strong voice and their calls can be heard up to 4.8 km according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The presence of an enlarged hyoid bone helps them in making such loud howls.

Howlers generally have black, brown, or red thick hair on their body along with a prehensile tail. The tail is almost as large as the body and used in picking fruits or other food from the trees.

In young howler monkeys, tails are also used for balance and for giving support to the entire body. They usually live in groups of six to fifteen individuals.

One to three males are found along with several females. They aren't dangerous and reside on the tree branches.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) Red List, the Brown Howler, Red-handed howler, and Mantled howler are declared as Vulnerable species and Critically Endangered while the rest of them are declared as Least Concern. Destruction of habitat and hunting are two major threats encountered by the howler monkeys.

Read on to discover more. You may also like to read woolly monkey facts and patas monkey facts.

Howler Monkey Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a howler monkey?

Howler monkeys are mammals belonging to the genus Alouatta.

What class of animal does a howler monkey belong to?

Howler monkeys are a kind of new world monkey, belonging to the class Mammalia and a part of the Atelidae family. The scientific name of the howler monkey is Alouatta.

How many howler monkeys are there in the world?

There are many different types of howler monkeys out there and an exact number of the group of howler monkeys is unknown at present.

Where does a howler monkey live?

Howler monkeys reside in both lower elevation and higher mountainous regions. They are mostly found in Central and South America in places like Mexico, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, the western Amazon basin, northeastern Argentina, and other such regions.

What is a howler monkey's habitat?

The howler monkey habitat mostly consists of forests. They usually prefer deciduous forests in the arid zones. They also can be seen in the broad-leafed forests containing dense canopy.

They stay in the upper canopy which constitutes matured tree crowns in higher elevation. They are an arboreal primate. They rarely step onto the ground and mostly reside on the branches of the trees.

Who do howler monkeys live with?

Howler monkeys mostly live in large social groups constituting 6-15 individuals. Their troops generally have one or three dominant males and the rest are females. Their social structure is matrilineal. Males are in charge of defending the territory and gathering food while the females have the responsibility of taking care of the offsprings in the family group.

How long does a howler monkey live?

Howlers generally have a lifespan of 15-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Their troops contain one to three males along with several females. The males usually attract their suitable mates by making loud, distinctive calls. They are polygamous in nature where one male can mate with more than one female. The female usually gives birth to one offspring and takes care of them until they are independent.

Females breed only once every year. Juveniles, especially males usually emigrate from their natal groups. The females are reported to be found in the same troop they are born in.

What is their conservation status?

According to the Internation Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), Brown Howlers, Red-handed howlers, and Mantled howlers are declared as Vulnerable species, the Yucatán Black Howler Monkey is declared Endangered, Black-and-gold Howler Monkey is declared Near Threatened, while the rest of them are declared as species of Least Concern. Their habitat solely consists of forest areas with trees in abundance.

Hence the destruction of habitat due to human settlements, hunting, and confinement in the zoos are some major threats encountered by them.

Howler Monkey Fun Facts

What do howler monkeys look like?

Howler monkeys are the largest new world monkeys belonging to the genus Alouatta. There are around fifteen discovered howler species of the genus and they have varied physical appearances with certain similarities.

Howler monkey size ranges from 22-36 in (56-92 cm) long with a prehensile tail almost as long as its entire body. In some species, the tail is five times the size of the body and helps in picking fruits from trees or maintaining balance.

The tail plays an important role in howler monkey adaptations as an arboreal primate. They have a large, rounded set of nostrils with a short snout.

Their faces are covered with fur and the body contains large and thick hairs. Black howler monkeys exhibit sexual dimorphism. Their males have a black coat while the females and the younger monkeys are white to yellowish in color.

Females are larger in size than males in almost all species. The Colombian red howler monkey has a reddish-brown coat that changes in color with age.

Brown howlers are reddish-orange to brown in color. The Mantled howler monkey skull weighs 55.1g which is lighter than the other smaller monkey species, they have an overall black color in their body with tinges of golden brown or yellowish guard hairs.

The howler monkey scream can be heard up to 4.8 km away.

How cute are they?

Their cuteness usually stems from their appearance. They are larger than other monkey species with a long prehensile tail. Their body is covered with hair and colors range from brown, red to black depending upon the species.

They have large nostrils with a shorter snout. The howler monkey call is distinctive and loud. They are often considered to be the loudest land animals.

How do they communicate?

Howlers are famous for their loud, noisy, and distinctive calls. The presence of hyoid bone and large throats help in producing such loud screams referred to as 'howls'.

They are mostly heard during the dawn and dusk. That's why their calls are often called as 'dawn chorus'.

One of them starts the howl and then the rest join in forming a chorus.

They usually call to guard their territories against rivals, to protect themselves or other members of the family, or to attract mates during breeding seasons.

They are often considered to be one of the loudest land animals and the howler monkey noise can be heard up to a range of 4.8 km according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

How big is a howler monkey?

Howler monkeys are 22-36 in (56-92 cm) in length. They are the largest new world monkeys and are almost 20 times the size of a bumblebee bat (1.1-1.3 in).

How fast can a howler monkey move?

Howler monkeys can travel or move at a speed of 11.2 mph. They are quadrupedal, which means they use both their hindlegs and forelegs for running. The prehensile tails present in these animals also help in their locomotion.

How much does a howler monkey weigh?

Howler monkeys are the largest new world monkeys weighing between 15-22 lb. The females are slightly larger and therefore heavier than the males.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Scientists do not have separate names for the males and females of the species. The male is generally referred to as the male howler monkey while the females are called the female howler monkey.

What would you call a baby howler monkey?

The baby howler monkey is generally called an infant.

What do they eat?

Howlers mostly reside on the upper canopy of forests and feed on leaves. Howler monkey diet mainly consists of buds, flowers, fruits, leaves, nuts, and berries from the trees. They use their tails in picking up their food.

These animals are also referred to as folivores which are herbivores that prefer eating leaves. They obtain their water mainly from the leaves and food. They are rarely seen drinking.

However, during prolonged dry spells they do come on the ground in search of water. They are also known to consume eggs from birds' nests. Hence they are broadly classified under the category of omnivores.

Are they aggressive?

Howler monkeys aren't very aggressive in nature but they do not respond well to confinement. They are noticed to be ill-tempered when kept inside the confinements of a zoo or as pets and might attack humans. They shouldn't be held captive.

Would they make a good pet?

Howler monkeys respond adversely to captivity and confinement. They suddenly become aggressive or ill-tempered and hence should be left in their natural habitat. Although, the Black howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) is kept as a pet in some parts of Argentina because of its soft nature.

Did you know...

Howler monkeys have a historical significance. They are mentioned by John Llyod Stephens at Copan, an archaeological site of Maya civilization.

They were portrayed as gods by many tribes and worshipped for the beauty of their long tails. There has been mention of two howler brothers in the myth 'Maya Hero Twins'. It's an extract from 'Papol Vuh', a text depicting the history and mythology of Maya civilization

What does a howler monkey sound like?

Among land animals, howler monkeys are one of the loudest and their call sounds like a deep, loud howl. Hence they are named the howler monkey. The strong vocalization is mainly due to the presence of a large hyoid bone and a large throat.

The sound produced vibrates inside their large throat and thus gets amplified. One of the members starts the call and the rest join in a chorus. Howler monkey sounds or howls travel through a long distance of up to 4.8 km through dense forests.

What animal eats a howler monkey?

Howler monkey predators include snakes, jaguars, and carnivorous birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Bornean orangutan, or guenon.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our howler monkey coloring pages.

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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.

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