Black Howler Monkey

Black Howler Monkey

Alouatta caraya

Quick Facts

Black Howler Monkey
Found:  South America
Size:  Two to three feet with tail
Weight: 11 to 18 pounds
Diet:  Leaves, fruit, flowers
Life Span:  16 to 20 years
Status:  Common

The howler monkeys get their common name from their ability to make very loud calls that are used in part to mark their territory. They are capable of making these great sounds because they have two egg-sized hollow hyoid bones in their throat that act as resonating chambers. The adult males initiate howling, but all members of the 10 to 20 monkey clan may then join in. They are arboreal animals and have prehensile tails.  Although capable of brachiating and leaping, they prefer a sure handhold on a new tree limb before releasing their feet and tail from the old limb while moving single file along their treetop “roads.”  When the clan comes to a break in the trees, the adult howlers may form a hand-to-tail monkey bridge so that the juveniles can safely cross. They are highly territorial, marking their area by howling at rival clans, but seldom fighting with other clans.  Within the clan, they communicate by blinking eyelids, waggling tongues and making clicking sounds.  Males are black while females are blond.  All babies, whether male or female are born blond so they blend in with the mother's fur.  If the baby is a male, his fur will slowly begin to change to black usually at 3 to 4 years of age.  The first picture below is of a juvenile male in the process of changing to black.   

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