Black Howler Monkeys

In BestZOO in the Netherlands, two new residents can be observed and above all heard. A couple of black howler monkeys has taken up residence. The animals moved in from zoos in Germany and France.
Even though they are called black howler monkey (Alouatta caraya), only males have a black fur. The female is cream colored. Black howler monkeys belong to the family of the Atelidae, one of the four families of New World monkeys. In the wild, the animals live in the tropical rain forests of South America, in groups of seven to nine animals. After a gestation period of 187 days, a young is born, weighing around 125 grams. The young will remain with the mother for two years. All young black howler monkeys have the same color as the mother. Males will only grow black hairs when they become three years of age.
Adults are between 50 and 65 cm in size. Their tails have about the same length. The tail is very practical when moving around in trees, and is considered to be a fifth arm. In the wild, black howler monkeys can live up to twenty years.

Howler monkeys live high up in the trees and only come down to drink water. They do this by putting the liquid on to their hands and licking it. The monkeys eat leaves, but also fruits. Leaf is food that contains little energy. Because of this, the monkeys are not very active. They prefer to stroll rather than run and climb rather than jump. In general, they rest a lot and sit in the sun.
Howler monkeys thank their name to the sound the males make. The low and constant call sounds a bit like the lion’s roar. Most roaring occurs around sunrise. The sound can carry up to five kilometers. The function of the roaring is to let other monkeys know where they are. This way, conflicts with other groups can be avoided.