Basic Monkey Facts
I am doing a science fair project on spider monkeys. They are primates which means they have fingernails, teeth and 5 fingers, but in the case of spider monkeys they only have 4 fingers. Spider monkeys are new world monkeys, so they are not as smart as old world monkeys, but still very intelligent. In this paper I will try to explain a little basic information about spider monkeys. Most of the information besides this research paper I learned observing the spider monkeys at the reserve near my house.
Spider monkeys are black with white stomachs. They have long tails and limbs compared to their bodies. Their hands have only four fingers, and so they are limited in many ways. They cannot do the pincer grasps so if they want to pick an object off the ground they must scoop it up using their hand as a scooper. Spider monkeys have the most prehensile tail of any mammal. They use their tails for holding things, hanging, balance and swinging.
THEIR PLACE IN THE ECOSYSTEM
Flowers and species are helped by spider monkeys. One way that spider monkeys help flowers is when they stick in their black faces to lick nectar, pollen is rubbed on their faces. Then if a spider monkey goes to another flower for nectar it will spread the pollen. A way that spider monkeys help other species is by eating small grubs and keeping down the insect population. Spider monkeys also provide good cuisine for jaguars. Spider monkeys also help biologists as they are an indicator species.
I have observed spider monkeys display many signs of intelligence. Even though they are not as smart as chimps and orangutans, they are still intelligent creatures. For example, I observed a spider monkey Elder with a banana and almost ten coatis started attacking it for the banana. The spider monkey hid the banana in a tree and laughed at the coatis as they tried to find it. Spider monkeys are the smartest of the new world monkeys and smarter than gorillas.
Spider monkeys have very interesting hobbies. Most of the time they spend hook sitting in trees and grooming themselves. They usually stay up in trees, and rarely come down to the ground. When spider monkeys are not sleeping in the sun or looking for food they swing around just for the fun of it. Sometimes they just swing back and forth on one particular branch switching hands and sometimes they just swing by their tails.
Insects and spiders are on spider monkeys menu and that makes them omnivores. They eat a wide variety of things. In captivity they even eat dog food for protein. Food examples in the wild include spiders, nectar, apples, bird eggs (an easy source of protein), roots, nuts, and their favorite food, bananas.
Spider monkeys live in Central America and a few other places too. They live in rain forests preferably near a good source of water and food. Besides rain forests, spider monkeys can live in marshes, high mountains, and even savanna forests. People have been cutting down trees in spider monkey’s habitat and spider monkeys are starting to move into areas that are not their natural habitats. Now spider monkeys are threatened.