Woolly monkeys are found throughout Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and parts of Venezuela where they live an arboreal lifestyle. Woolly monkeys have long and very strong prehensile tails which allows them to balance and grip onto branches without having to give up the use of their hands.
There are four different species of woolly monkey found in the South American jungles today. These are the brown woolly monkey (also known as the common woolly monkey), the grey woolly monkey, the Columbian woolly monkey and the silvery woolly monkey. All four of the different woolly monkey species are found in the same regions of South America.
The woolly monkey gets its name from its soft and thick, curled fur which ranges from brown to black to grey, depending on the species of woolly monkey. Woolly monkeys have relatively stocky bodies, with powerful shoulders and hips.
Like many other primate species, woolly monkeys live together in fairly large groups known as troops. The woolly monkey troops contain both male woolly monkeys and female woolly monkeys. The woolly monkey troop is also known to split up into smaller groups when it is time to forage for food.
The woolly monkey is an omnivorous animal, meaning that it feeds on both plants and other animals. Fruit is the primary source of food for woolly monkeys, but they will also eat nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, nectar, insects and even small rodents and reptiles.
Due to their relatively large size, woolly monkeys have few natural predators within their jungle environment. Large birds of prey such as eagles, are the main predators of the young woolly monkeys, and wildcats such as ocelot and jaguars are the main predators of the adult woolly monkeys. The human is also one of the main predators of the woolly monkey as they are hunted for their meat and fur.
The alpha male woolly monkey will mate with the females in his troop. After a gestation period of between 7 and 8 months, the baby woolly monkey is born. Woolly monkeys tend to only have one baby at a time although twins have been known to occur. The baby woolly monkey clings to it's mothers underside, before climbing up onto her back when it is around a week old. The baby woolly monkey is independent and no longer needs it's mother when it is around 6 months old.
Due to deforestation and therefore habitat loss, the woolly monkey population numbers are drastically decreasing, with the woolly monkey now considered to be an animal species that is vulnerable to extinction.