Animals of Costa Rica

Howler Monkey

Category: Mammals

Adults weigh between 4-7kg, depending on sex. They are predominantly black with lighter coloring on their sides and mid-riff. Males have a very distinctive white scrotum which enables easy identification of the species! They have a fur-less face and a patch near the tip of their prehensile tail that is also fur-less and aids their movement through the trees.

Taxonomy (Alouatta palliata)
Spanish Name Mono congo
Conservation Status Least concern (however this was last assessed in 2008)
Lifespan 7-12 years with females living considerably longer than their male counterparts.
Distribution Can be found throughout Central America and in northern parts of Colombia and Ecuador. 
Behavior Group sizes range from 10-20 members with significantly more females than males; a high percentage of individuals will perform natal emigration and find places in troops to the ones that they were raised in. They spend a large portion of their time foraging for food and have a low-energy lifestyle due to their diet of mostly leaves. The hyoid bone allows the males to perform their loud ‘howl’; this bone is 25 times larger than what you would find in a monkey species of the same size and is the same bone that allows lions to roar. 
Diet Will eat almost exclusively in the canopies, grazing on leaves, fruits and flowers. They prefer the young leaves which have lower tannins and higher fiber to protein ratio.
Reproduction Females become sexually mature at around 36 months and males at around 42 months.
Threats Hunting, habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.
At Alturas Roo is our most recent sanctuary resident and was attacked by capuchins when she was a baby, resulting in her leg having to be amputated. You can see her on one of our four tours a day from Tuesday-Sunday.

Howler monkeys are one of the most common primate species we receive at Alturas, and can be brought to us for a range of reasons from attacks by other monkeys to road traffic accidents.