HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Beardsley Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a healthy black-handed spider monkey.
According to the Connecticut Beardsley Zoo, baby spider monkeys are born fully furred and with their eyes open.
Officials said the baby will spend the first 16 weeks of its life being carried on its mother’s stomach until it becomes strong enough to be carried on her back.
The unnamed monkey was born to parents Janet and Gilligan, after a seven-and-a-half-month gestation period.
Guests who visit the Zoo may see Janet carrying her new infant around their enclosure, but the family may not always be visible as they have free access to roam into their main habitat and sleeping area.
Zoo officials said female, black-handed spider monkeys typically give birth to one infant every two to four years.
18-year-old Janet and her companion 31-year-old Bertha joined 9-year-old Gilligan and 23-year-old T.T. last year at the Beardsley Zoo.
“These monkeys are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s Species Survival Program (SSP), an important part of helping these endangered animals,” said Gregg Dancho, director of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. “This species is threatened by intense habitat degradation and deforestation, so a baby born here is an important ambassador, raising awareness of habitat protection and contributing to the survival of its species.”
The Beardsley Zoo Spider Monkey habitat opened in 2019. The habitat has a landscaped outdoor yard with opportunities for climbing. Spider monkeys hang out in the upper levels of trees in mangrove swamps or rain or cloud forests.
Black-handed spider monkeys, also known as Geoffroy’s spider monkeys, live in tropical rainforests in Central America and South America. They are known for moving quickly through the trees and often use their tail as a fifth limb.
The spider monkeys spend a lot of their time high up in the tree tops foraging for nuts, bird eggs, fruit, leaves and spiders.
Black-handed spider monkeys are currently an endangered species, and their population is decreasing in the wild due to deforestation, habitat fragmentation, the illegal pet trade and climate change.
Spider monkeys can live up to 47 years while in the care of humans, zoo officials said.
You can learn more about spider monkeys and the Beardsley Zoo here.