Creatures of the Amazon
The Peruvian Spider Monkey

By Mike Collis

Ateles chamek

The name implies this primate lives only in Peru but this is not true. The range of the Peruvian Spider Monkey includes the Eastern part of Peru, Northern Bolivia and a large area of Western Brazil. The Peruvian Spider Monkey can live up to 20 years, can grow up to 2 feet in height plus it has a prehensile tail of approximately 3 feet in length and can weigh up to 20 lbs.

Spider monkeys are social animals and live in bands of up to 12 individuals. They eat mainly fruit but will devour small animals, leaves, frogs, bird's eggs, plants and insects. Its diet can be seasonal so spider monkeys usually cover an area of about 15 square miles. The spider monkey has 4 long fingers but has a very small thumb unlike other monkeys. It is very agile and moves easily through the rainforest using its long tail as an additional limb.

Spider monkeys mate throughout the year but most give birth around April or May. Mothers usually leave the band to give birth after a gestation period of about 135 days. Mothers don't usually return to the band until about 3 to 4 months after giving birth but still care for the babies until they are independent at 10 months.

Apart from local people killing and eating spider monkeys they are also threatened by the encroachment of their territory by oil and logging companies.
The peruvian spider monkey is therefore on the endangered list.
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