Brown Spider Monkey: Facts, Habitat & Endangerment

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

What exactly are brown spider monkeys? Where do they live, and are they endangered? If you are looking for the answers to these questions, or if you just like to read about awesome animals, look no further.

The Brown Spider Monkey

Eat dirt! If you have ever heard someone make this comment, you probably assumed they did not mean it literally. Don't tell this to a brown spider monkey. These fascinating primates occasionally dine on dirt. This is just one of the many interesting facts about brown spider monkeys. Read on to learn more.

The Basics

The brown spider monkey, also known as Ateles hybridus lives in sub-tropical rainforests of Venezuela and Colombia. There are two types of Ateles Hybridus: Ateles hybridus brunneus and Ateles hybridus hybridus. Brown spider monkeys are a division of spider monkeys, so there are many similarities between the two. What sets the brown spider monkey apart is their physical appearance. Brown spider monkeys are usually light brown on their back, arms, and legs. They have a white patch starting on their belly going up to their upper chest. The brown spider monkey can also have blue eyes.

Brown spider monkey


Brown spider monkeys are found mostly in mainland Colombia but also in Venezuela. They prefer warm, wet climates and live on the canopy of evergreen trees. They are arboreal (live in trees) in nature and therefore spend most of their lives on the top most parts of tall trees and are hardly ever seen on the floor of the forest.


The brown spider monkey shares many characteristics with the spider monkey. The following is common among brown spider monkeys and spider monkeys.

  • Brown spider monkeys have a prehensile tail which means they can use it to grab branches.
  • They do not have any thumbs. They have four hooked fingers which they use for grasping.
  • Their tails have a patch of skin at the end which helps them grip.
  • They live in troops of 20 to 100 at a time but usually break off into smaller groups to forage.
  • They sleep in the very tops of trees to avoid predators.
  • They are omnivorous but primarily eat ripe fruit, nuts, leaves, flowers, bird's eggs, bark, and honey. They occasionally eat insects and soil.
  • The size of a troop usually depends on the abundance of food available.
  • The average life span of a Brown Spider Monkey is 26 years. They live for an extra 10 in captivity.


Brown spider monkeys are on the critically endangered list. There are various factors influencing their dwindling numbers.

For hundreds of years, humans have hunted the brown spider monkey for meat. Hunting them has now been made illegal in some areas of South America, but their numbers continue to decline due to poachers.

Another factor is logging and deforestation. Humans are destroying forest land for wood, mining, oil exploration, agriculture, and urbanization. Brown spider monkeys' habitats are being torn down. With lack of space to live, their numbers are drastically declining.

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