The spider monkey troop’s newest member Toque has settled in well to his new Auckland Zoo home, but not without first ruffling some fluff.

Three months ago 10-year-old male Toque arrived from Toronto Zoo, and is enjoying life as the male of his new family. Toque has always lived with a group of females, but never before with six of them! It has been a while since our females have had a male in their troop, and when Toque realised he was the only male he started a few dramas, but has since found his feet and the group adapted to him well. Toque has his favourite ladies – Helen, Julietta and Kelly – and our team is hoping to hear the pattering of baby spider monkey feet soon enough. 


Introducing our troop of swinging spider monkeys!

Watch as they enjoy a scatter feed of delicious veges from Primate keeper Anuradha.

Although a male has joined the troop, females aren’t afraid to take charge in many situations such as when searching for food. All spider monkey males are colour blind, while 40% of females are not, which enables females to lead the group to the right coloured fruits for them to eat. In the wild this is especially imperative to the group’s survival. 

Auckland Zoo has bred spider monkeys since the 1950’s. Zoos play an important part in conserving the endangered spider monkeys, as deforestation is a huge problem for the South American species. Spider monkeys need a ‘virgin forest’ to survive in the wild, meaning a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance, which exhibits unique ecological features. Quality of life is of utmost importance at Auckland Zoo, and our exhibits and keeper care meets every need of our special troop.

Spider monkeys are the third smartest primate. They have prehensile tails which means they can use their tails to support their entire body weight as they hang from trees. Their tails have a bald underside, and similar to humans with our unique fingerprints, spider monkeys have unique ‘tail-prints’. Spider monkeys have four fingers and no thumb, which is a special adaptation to life in the forest which helps them better manoeuvre through the trees.

Help support our exceptional spider monkeys by visiting Torque and his female troop in their enclosure, or by donating to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund. Other ways you can help the species are by reducing your carbon footprint, buying products which are sustainably produced, or supporting conservations projects which help protect our forests.