Meet the Animals » Primates » Pepe, Mel and Faye
Pepe, Mel and Faye
Spider Monkeys Simia paniscus – Pepe, Mel & Faye
Pepe and Faye came to the Refuge in early 1999 as surplus stock from a zoo because at that time they needed a new home to retire to. Pepe and Faye, who are parents to Mel, are quite elderly now. Faye is unfortunately blind but can get around their enclosure very confidently.
Spider monkeys live in mature rainforests, swinging between the canopy and emergent trees, they eat fruit and leaves and can live in groups of up to 20 individuals moving out into smaller groups as they feed and play. In intelligence tests spider monkeys ranked just above gorillas proving they are in the top few New World monkey species in terms of their level of intelligence, which they use to their advantage when mapping out the forest seasons for fruit bearing trees, ensuring that they can continuously find food throughout the year. This is important to them as their diet actually consists of over 150 different types of fruit. Spider monkeys can live to over 40 year of age in captivity, which is some age for a primate.
Their disproportionately long limbs and prehensile tail gives rise to their common name. Spider monkeys can produce a wide range of sounds and will ‘bark’ when threatened.
Did you know that unlike many monkeys they do not use their arms for balance when walking and instead rely on their tail?