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Brown spider monkey

Ateles hybridus

Brown spider monkey at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Primates
Family: Atelidae

Two brown spider monkeys, Luna and Kikou, live at Paignton Zoo.

As tree-dwelling primates, the brown spider monkey is native to upper areas of the forest canopy in northern Colombia and north-western Venezuela.

They typically have a fruit-based diet in the wild, but can also eat leaves, flowers and seeds.

Interesting facts!

  • Spider monkeys get their name due to the habit of using their long tail as a ‘fifth limb’, helping them grip branches when moving around trees and making them look like big spiders.
  • The eyes of these primates are usually light brown, but individuals occasionally have pale blue eyes.
  • Because of their arboreal lifestyle, spider monkeys lack a thumb and instead have four curved fingers on each hand, resembling a hook.


Brown spider monkeys face heavy threats of illegal hunting for the pet trade and habitat destruction, and the population is declining.
There is some protection in reserves as well as legal protection in South America.

Captive populations within European zoos are managed co-operatively and our spider monkeys are part of the EAZA ex-situ breeding programme (EEP).