Southern black howler monkey in exhibit

Southern Black Howler Monkey

Scientific Name
Alouatta caraya
Geographic Range
Central South America
Leaves, flowers, and fruits
Southern black howler monkey in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened

More Information

Southern black howler monkeys are the largest monkeys in Latin American rainforests. Males have black coats and are much larger with a body length 24–26 inches, while females have blond fur and are about 20 inches long. They are named for their loud vocalizations, which help them claim feeding trees in their home range every day.

These monkeys share space with other howler monkeys, so the howling is also a way to let others know where they are. They also mark territory with dung piles and scent markings on branches. Females have a 180-day gestation period, and all newborns are the same blond color as their mother. Males develop their black coat about 2.5 years after they are born. They become adults at 18 months.

Did You Know?

  • Howler monkeys roaring together can be heard three miles away, thanks to a large Adam’s apple that amplifies their calls. The Adam’s apple also restricts arm movement, so these monkeys rely on their tails when moving.
  • These primates have a prehensile tail with a sensitive, bare underside that allows them to identify textures and move easily through trees.
  • Southern black howler monkeys are the only New World primates that regularly eat mature leaves, a trait which helps them adapt to different habitats easily.


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