"Lucy" (at left) and "Goober" arrived to Black Pine late in 2013, surrendered former house pets. They are spider monkeys.
Lucy, a long-haired spider monkey, and her companion Goober, a black-handed spider monkey, are natives of the tropical rainforests of South America. Like other "new world" primates, the spider monkeys sport prehensile tails that they use to grip and hold on tightly as they move gracefully through the trees. They have no thumbs, just four fingers, yet their hand grip is strong. The "spider monkey" name comes from the fact that the monkeys can be seen holding on with all four limbs, plus their tail, making their body appear like a "web" in the trees.
Spider monkeys eat primarily fruit, though in the wild an occasional reptile and insects provide protein. At Black Pine, Goober and Lucy enjoy a commercially prepared primate diet of biscuits, accompanied daily by fresh produce, bread, yogurt and more.
Like many species of monkeys, spider monkeys are prevalent in the exotic pet trade. Despite countless testimonials (do a web search of "monkey bite wounds") of heartbroken former owners, and the fact that sanctuaries are beyond full of discarded, abandoned, and confiscated pet monkeys, people still seek them out. Goober and Lucy were pets for many years before they were surrendered. Before coming to Black Pine their teeth were removed, a common measure taken in the pet trade to prevent the animals from biting their human owners. The sad reality of removing an animal's teeth is that it leaves them scarred for life and unable to enjoy the enrichment of a normal diet that requires manipulation of food. With or without teeth, the powerful jaws of a monkey can and will leave nasty wounds.
Goober and Lucy are awaiting an all-new outdoor habitat slated for construction in 2014. For more information, click here.
InfoBox - Rhesus Macaque
Diet in wild: Mostly plant materials and insects.
Life span in wild: 20 to 40 years.
Weight: Males 20 to 30 pounds; females up to 25 pounds.
Native habitat: Southeastern Asian countries.