Pretty much any time you walk out in the woods at Chan Chich Lodge, at some point during your hike you should be able to hear the rocking branches that are a sign of either spider monkeys or howler monkeys moving or eating in the treetops. And if you’re lucky, the swinging simians might stop and watch you with an uncannily familiar curiosity (or boredom), interrupting their normal activity for a minute or two before continuing on their way.
During the period in which we observed the family of three in the video above, the father yawned at least nine times, while the mother did so at least five times. They must have had a rough night with their little one, who looked quite zoned out throughout our meeting, except for this one shot below where he/she appears to have noticed something slightly more extraordinary than a pair of humans:
These lithe climbers eat fruit and leaves, spreading seeds around the jungle; they also may be the most intelligent monkey in the New World, possibly due to their complex social system and the fact that they have to remember where to find different sources of food in the forest. Unfortunately, many spider monkey species are threatened by extinction due to habitat loss and hunting; I’m thankful for the safe-zone these particular monkeys enjoy here in western Belize, and they probably are too!