The red-faced spider monkey An acrobatic primate

The walker looks up, alerted by a series of “How! How! How!” and the rustling of leaves. Dark humanoid figures rapidly disappear across the treetops. They must be monkeys. At first it looks like there are five or six coming towards him. Given their size and their way of moving, the walker thinks they must be red-faced spider monkeys, also called Guiana spider monkeys. It's important not to make any noise, there are increasingly few opportunities to observe them in the north of the country and the walker wants to make the most of it. Leaning against the trunk of a tree, he raises his binoculars to his eyes and waits. He can soon make out the big monkeys. The red skin of their face is in sharp contrast with their uniformly shiny black hair. Watching the spider monkeys moving about overhead is a fine acrobatic spectacle, and the group swings from one branch to the next hanging by their arms and tails. Their tails play a key role, and they use it for balance and as a fifth limb. Spider monkeys have prehensile tails, with a thick-skinned tip able to seize branches and objects as a hand does. The man soon gets to see how useful this unusual adaptation to life in the trees is for these arboreal animals. Whilst two individuals have already gone past without seeing him, two others have spotted him and stop directly above his head. Hanging by their tails they start calling out frenetically, warning the rest of the group which flees noisily on either side of the trail. But the...

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