Creatures of the Amazon
Howler Monkey

By Mike Collis

Alouatta seniculus

Living throughout the tropical regions of Central and South America the Howler Monkey (Alouatta seniculus) is one the largest primates there. The population size is unknown and although its habitat is constantly under threat from humans it is considered to be a species of least concern.

The habitat of the Howler Monkey is varied and they can live in all kinds of forest from tropical rainforest, high forests up to 10,500 feet, marsh woodlands, swamps and plantations. They always live no more than a mile from a river or a lake.

Howlers always live in groups of between 4 and 20 members and they travel from tree to tree in search of food. They tend to walk from limb to limb rather than jump.

Male Howler Monkeys are bigger than the females reaching between 22 to 36 inches in length, their prehensile tails are slightly longer than the overall body length. The tail is used to grab branches and is like an extra limb. Male Howler Monkeys are black and the females brown. Male Howlers can weigh up to 16lbs and females up to 14lbs. Their loud howls mark their territory and can be heard up to 2 miles away. A large hyoid bone functions to change, deepen and resonate the pitch of the howl. The territory of the Howler is quite small varying between one tenth and three quarters of a square mile.

Howler Monkeys can live up to 15 years in the wild but have been known to reach 22 years in captivity.. The diet of the Howler Monkey is strictly vegetarian consuming flowers, seeds, fruit and leaves. They start feeding before daybreak and stop before sunset. They sleep at night in groups in the tallest trees.

Apart from humans the usual predator of the Howler Monkey are birds of prey , mainly the Harpy Eagle but it is known that pumas, jaguars and boas have taken Howlers.

A characteristic of Howler Monkeys is that they defecate in groups from the same tree. This usually occurs after waking and again at about midday after resting.
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