Howler monkeys are New World monkeys that live in the rainforests of South America. They eat diets of mainly leaves. Because they eat mature leaves which have low energy, they must limit their movement to conserve their energy. However, if they had to, they can outrun humans in the trees or on the ground. They have opposable fingers for grasping branches, like a chameleon. They are known for their vocalization which is made from a special hollow bone in their necks and is used to communicate where their territorial lines are to other howlers. Dueting between mates strengthens the bond between them.
Diet and Lifestyle:
Behavior and Play:
Culture and Communication:
Threats and Conservation Status:
*Conservation status update May 2016
What’s in a Nap?
You might say that howler monkeys are lazy, considering the fact that they spend nearly three quarters of the day resting or sleeping! However, this lifestyle is a result of what they eat. Leaves aren’t especially nutritious, so howler monkeys have to conserve whatever energy they have until they can muster up the strength to go find more food.
Howler monkeys have had a strong influence on local culture for centuries. Some cultures, admiring the monkeys’ thick coats and tails, worshipped them as gods. The Mayan culture has a story that included two howler monkey brothers. To lose howler monkeys to extinction would not only be a great loss for the biodiversity of our planet but also for the richness and beauty of these cultures!
Howler monkeys are called “howler monkeys” for a reason—their howls are extraordinarily loud! If you had the chance to hear one, you wouldn’t have any trouble believing that these are some of the loudest animals on the planet—their howls can be heard for 3 miles (5 km) through the forest!
Video of Columbian Red Howler Monkey Calling to Group and Feeding Courtesy of ARKive.org