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Black Howler Monkey


Fact File

Continent: South America
Habitat: Forests
Weight and Length: 6.7kg (males) / 4.4kg (females), 0.7m


Diet: Herbivore
Gestation: 187 days
Number of Young: average of 1


Conservation Status: LC


  • Have strong prehensile tails. These tails are hairless on the underside, which allows them to be sensitive to touch and act in identifying things much like a fifth hand.
  • Have an enlarged hyoid and larynx housing the vocal apparatus where the howling originates.
  • Live in large social groups, generally made up of family members.
  • All member of the group ‘howl’ each morning to notify neighbouring groups of their position.
  • Despite their large size Howler monkeys are relatively light which allows them to move with more agility through the high trees and allows them to hang from their tails when picking fruit.

Black Howler Monkey

Alouatta caraya

Animals — Mammals — Primates — Atelidae (howlers & relatives)

Black Howler Monkeys are a relatively large species of monkey that are named for the noises they make, though they sound gruff and loud, more like roarers than howlers. Males are mostly black and females and juveniles are a yellowish blonde colour.

They are social animals, found in small to large groups that average around 8 individuals. They call to ensure that other groups of howlers know where they are and avoid them. Females may share care of the young. They are not very active, sleeping for up to 70% of their days.

As with all rainforest animals, deforestation is their main threat. Trees are often cut for their wood, or to expand agricultural land.

Habitat: Inhabit tropical forest where rains are nearly constant throughout the year, and tropical deciduous forest spotted with savannah like openings where there is a marked wet, warm season and a dry, cool season.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 6.7kg (males) / 4.4kg (females)
–Average height: 0.7m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 16 years
In captivity up to: 28 years

Diet: They are herbivores so eat plants. They eat mostly leaves but compliment their diet with fruits, buds and flowers.

Distribution: Found in central South America ranging through eastern Bolivia,Southern Brazil, Paraguay and Northern Argentina.

How we are Protecting Wild Animals

Red howler monkeys and other amazon mammals are increasingly affected by deforestation and the pet trade.

Since 2014 we have been supporting ASAEP (Amazon Shelter for Animal and Environmental Protection) – a new project in the Tambopata region, protecting Red Howler Monkeys and other local mammals. The project shelters animals as part of a rehabilitation and release scheme. The area is forestry certified and secured, meaning it is protected from hunters and other avoidable ecological impacts.


Red Howler Monkeys are the most trafficked animal in Colombia; the parents are often killed so that the poachers can sell on the cute babies into the illegal pet trade.

To combat this, environmental authorities have dramatically increased their confiscations of wildlife but there is no national plan to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild so rescue centres have become holding stations.

Ecosantafe run a rescue centre, which receives more than 50 red howler monkeys per year, most of which are babies, which have either been voluntarily handed over, or confiscated from poachers. The centre aims to care for each animal so that it can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild with all the skills required to help it survive out in its natural habitat.

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