Monkey Monday: Monkey Shot of the Week
– photo and story by Jane Moore of Papagayo Luxury –
Beautiful, beautiful howler monkey! We felt lucky to get such a captive, transfixed audience with this handsome “mono congo,” as howlers are called locally. Howler monkeys can be particularly hard to spot in green season as the vegetation is thick and lush, and howlers have black fur.
While the mantled howler monkey is primarily black, they have lighter colored yellow, brown, orange or reddish fur on their sides (the “mantle”), which you can see just a bit on this monkey. Babies are lighter in color and darken as they age. The males are slightly larger than females, and the average howler body is around 56-92 cm with an equally long tail. They have prehensile tails, meaning that they can grasp with their tails. As represented quite well in this photo, howler monkeys use their tails to support their body weight when they hang in trees, and their tails also them move or balance.
Howler monkeys are renowned for their strong vocal cords, which are substantially larger than that of other similar-sized monkeys. They produce an intimidating grunt-like “roar” that can last several seconds. These vocalizations are used to mark territory and communicate with others within the troop and can be heard several kilometers away. Their call is particularly notable around sunrise (early in Costa Rica) and sunset, but we guarantee that you will hear the howlers throughout your stay, multiple times a day! Hopefully you will hone your monkey spotting skills and be able to spot multiple troops during your stay, as well!