Costa Rica Monkeys
Primates of the Rich Coast


Seriously. Who doesn't love monkeys!

I can just about guarantee it...

Planning your next big trip to Costa Rica, thinking about all the incredible animals you can see here, and it's yes - monkeys, those like the white-headed capuchin, and black-handed spider...

At the very top, of your *must-see* list.

And for sure, I can definitely relate. Even after so many years, living in, and traveling to - various corners of the country, firsthand experiences with each of the 4 different species that live here...

It's always exciting to see them.

Of course, "hearing" them - especially if you're less of a morning person, may be another story. Known for being one of the loudest animals, of anywhere on the planet...

Costa Rica Monkeys
Costa Rica Monekeys - a Howling, Mantled Howler

The mantled howler monkey - the most common to spot, of the four...

Can be heard like a "natural howling alarm clock" in the wee hours of the morning, encouraging an earlier-than-usual, start to the day.

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And so...

Would you like to know a little bit more about Costa Rica monkeys?

Great!

Click on any of the following links - and you'll be taken further on down the page, to learn more...







Black-Handed Spider Monkey

Mono Aranya   |   Atelis geoffroyi   |   Endangered

I had to wonder, of each of the 4 Costa Rica monkeys, just why exactly - was the black-handed spider monkey, named scientifically...

As "Geoffroy"?

Black-Handed Spider Monkey
A Flying Spider Monkey!

As I eventually learned...

It was actually someone by the name of Etienne GEOFFROY Saint-Hilaire, a naturalist from France...

Who's responsible coining the name "Spider Monkey" - comparing it - with its long, lanky limbs and tail...

To an arachnid.

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More on the tail...

Having seen these monkeys up close - in places like Tortuguero, the Corcovado, and even in the mountains of Panama...

Each time, it was amazing watching them zip from tree to tree - way faster than any of the other monkeys in Costa Rica...

Their prehensile (able to grab things) tails, acting as a fifth limb - giving them an edge in speed and agility.

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Fun Fact: Spider monkeys don't have thumbs! It's why the name atelis was attached, meaning "imperfect". Evolution-wise, however... no thumbs IS perfect - allowing these monkeys to zip through the canopy with ease.





Mantled Howler Monkey

Congo   |   Alouatta palliate

Thinking of "animals on the Rich Coast" - and it's not only Costa Rica monkeys in general that come to mind, but often and more specifically...

The Mantled Howler.

Mantled Howler Monkey
Feeding a Baby Howler, at Jaguar Rescue Center

Named accordingly...

It ranks among the loudest animals on earth, their high-pitched lion-like roars - most often heard, at dawn and at dusk...

Topping out at a whopping 90 decibels.

For a better idea, of just how loud this is...

Picture yourself on a safari, trekking through the Corcovado - in the Osa Peninsula.

Through all those trees - at 4 kilometers (about 2 and a half miles) away - the sound would still, be able to reach your eardrum.

It's likely to hear them, during the day as well - especially closer to the road, where the sound of another loud noise, like a large truck or motorcycle - will instigate howling...

A warning to steer clear from its territory.

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Fun Fact: Howler monkeys are sometimes said, to be the loudest (or second loudest) animal on earth. There are actually a few more before them - those like a shrimp (yes a shrimp!), a whale... and a bat.





Squirrel Monkey

Mono Titi   |   Saimiri oerstedii   |   Endangered

It was out at the very tip of the Osa Peninsula - just before Carate, southern gateway to the Corcovado National Park...

When I saw squirrel monkeys, for the very first time.

A Cute Little Squirrel Monkey
Did I Just Hear Something?

Traveling in very large groups - sometimes 100s of individuals per troop...

It's quite fascinating to watch them - like a whole bunch of mini Tarzans, swinging from one tree to the next.

And yes, it's this brachiation - the ability to swing with ease branch to branch, from one tree to the next...

That's certainly the squirrel monkey's strong point.

Given their tiny size though - weaker, and much more susceptible to predators - than capuchins, howlers, and spiders...

Taking advantage of numbers, squirrel monkeys use a distinct "peeping" sound - a warning to other troop members, that an intruder - such as a raptor or snake, is close by.

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Fun Fact: While squirrel monkeys don't use their tails, like an extra limb to helping them eat - they do come in handy for balance, a key factor in their superb tree-maneuvering skills.





White-Headed Capuchin Monkey

Mono Cariblanca   |   Cebus capucinus

Did you know?

White-headed capuchins (also called "white-faced" capuchins), which their very large brains - are actually one of (if not THE) smartest primates on earth - more intelligent, than the other three Costa Rica monkeys.

White-Headed Capuchin Monkey
A Mother Capuchin, with Her Baby

Observed in the wild - resourcefully, using sharp tones as tools...

They crack open shellfish and nuts, foods that minus their nifty thinking...

Would otherwise be quite difficult to obtain.

And medicine too.

Effective against parasites, and bugs - capuchins rub the leaves of the piper plant on their fur...

A natural, rainforest herbal remedy.

Due to their intelligence - and also, their unique dual-color look...

These monkeys can be seen, in number of different Hollywood movies - ones like The Hangover 2, Zookeeper, and Night at the Museum - the role in each case, played by a capuchin named "Crystal".

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Fun Fact: Capuchin monkeys - again, given their smarts, are trained to help people with spinal injuries, or who are otherwise, mobile impaired.