Creatures of the Amazon
The Woolly Monkey
(Lagothrix)

By Mike Collis


Throughout South America there are many species of monkey, it is claimed that the Woolly Monkey is the largest, growing up to nearly two feet in height and weighing up to about 20 lbs. No one study has detailed how many Woolly Monkeys there are wild in the Amazon but they are quite prolific throughout the region. The areas in which Woolly Monkeys can be found are in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and some have been found on the upper Rio Negro and into Venezuela around the Colombian border. Their terrain includes tropical lowland forests, terra firma rainforests, old-levve forest, palm swamps and even cloud forest reaching up to nearly 10,000 feet elevation. The diet of these monkeys varies from region to region but it is known that they will consume almost anything, mainly ripe fruits and seeds, flowers, leaves, plants, fungi, insects, spiders, termites, frogs, vertebrates, honey, and small mammals.

Woolly monkeys move home all the time and they usually sleep in trees which are close together and up to 115 feet tall. Because of their size they have few predators except humans but eagles do take juveniles when they have the opportunity. They cover large areas of rainforest and are sometimes accompanied by other species of monkeys such as pygmy marmosets, saddleback tamarins, squirrel monkeys, white-fronted capuchins, black spider monkeys and howler monkeys. An unusual travelling companion for the Woolly Monkey is the doubled-toothed kite which follows them around and feeds on insects disturbed by the Woolly Monkeys foraging.

It is not known if Woolly monkeys have a mating season but their gestation period is about 7 and half months.

Woolly monkeys have large muscular bodies with prehensile tails and arms which are as long as their legs. Near the end of the tail on the distal side is a pad used for grip during climbing. They are extremely agile above ground but do sometimes walk upright on the ground.

Woolly monkeys are considered to be threatened but not on the endangered list.

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