fbpx Skip to Content

Black-handed Spider Monkey

Ateles geoffroyi geoffroyi

Five Limbs

The black-handed spider monkey has either red, black or brown fur with hook-like hands and a prehensile tail. They can use their prehensile tail, which is longer than their bodies, to swing and hang from, giving them a spider-like appearance.

About the Species

Black-handed spider monkey are arboreal, preferring to live in the upper canopy of forests in Central America and down into South America.

Black-handed spider monkeys live in large groups of around 30 individuals, although groups of up to 100 have been reported. The large group will split into smaller subgroups to forage for food. Their long slender limbs, hook-like hands and prehensile tail make foraging through the trees possible. Their tail is used as a fifth limb for activities such as hanging, swinging, picking up fruit, and throwing objects- solely with this fifth limb! The diet of these monkeys consists mainly of fruit, but they will occasionally eat leaves, flowers, nuts, seeds, insects, and arachnids. When a black-handed spider monkey is threatened, it will emit a “barking” sound in an attempt to ward off predators.

Words From the Experts


Our male spider monkey is one of the few animals here at the Zoo who will recognize his keepers even when they are not in uniform.



Did You Know?

Spider monkeys lack opposable thumbs, having only four fingers hand on each hand. However, they make up for it with a fifth limb- their tail!


World Icon


Central and South America

Leaf Icon


Tropical and Subtropical forests

Scale Icon


6–9 kg | 30–60 cm body length

Knife and Fork Icon


Fruit, leaves, flowers, nuts, seeds, insects, arachnids, eggs

Danger Icon


Humans, Jaguars, Pumas

Shield Icon

Natural Defenses

Warning calls and climbing ability

Heart Icon


Gives birth to one baby every two to four years

Question Bubble Icon



Heart with Heartrate Icon

Life Expectancy

Up to 25 years

  • Saving reptiles and amphibians
  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums