S is for Spider monkey
Spider Monkey, taken by Michael Schamis, under creative common license here.
(Written for Bristol Zoo 21013, up in the monkey house)
Said spider monkey to the fly,
I love to leap from branch to sky,
and stop to look and hook my tail
upon a branch along my trail
to hang around and search for seeds
or tasty nuts among the leaves,
I pluck and suck the juice from fruits
and nibble green and tender shoots,
I chase and tumble and trapeze
all arms and legs and tail through trees,
and every whoop and wail and call
says all I’ll ever want at all
is space to play among the stems
and wrap my arms round monkey friends.
Spider monkey live in Centra America in rain, dry and mangrove forests.
They are trapeze artists. They swing through the trees with their extra long limbs and prehensile tail working as a fifth limb so quickly they look like spiders – and even more so when they hang from their tail to pick fruit, seeds, leaves and flowers to eat.
Of the nine subspecies of spider monkey, seven are endangered, two critically. They are killed for food, they lose habitat to logging, they are caught for the pet trade.
Spider monkeys are very social – they split up during the day into groups to hunt for food, but their reunions are noisy and affectionate with lots of hugging.
If you live in the UK, you can visit the variegated spider monkey Atelus hybridus at Bristol Zoo.
All material © Liz Brownlee
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