Dappled sunlight through trees, Plantation Road, Panama

Finally! Spider Monkeys!

We finally got to see Spider Monkeys in the wild this afternoon! Although we have lived here in Panama over two and half years now, and seen most other species of monkey many times, we had never, until this afternoon, seen Spider Monkeys in the wild.

Frequently at Camino de Plantacion – Plantation Road – we have seen the awesomely noisy Howler Monkeys, the awesomely cute and tiny Mono Titi (Geoffroy’s Tamarin) and playful and agile Capuchin. I had always wondered why we had not been lucky enough to see the elegant sinuous Spider Monkeys outside of Summit Zoo. After all, in this bountiful country, these creatures are not at all rare.

We started off by seeing an enormous Spider on an outhouse at the start of the walk – maybe this was a premonition of what was to come?

Spider at Pipeline Road, Panama

As we walked deeper into the forest, past tree roots bigger than full grown humans, we saw many interesting things including Trogons (a bird related to the Quetzal), Mot Mots (an exotic bird with long tail feathers shaped like tennis racquets), not to mention a gazillion leaf-cutter ants, fire flies and lizards.

Enormous Tree Root, Plantation Road, Panama

We turned to go back home after a couple of kilometers – we had our three young children with us, and dusk was approaching. Although I would love to see a wild Jaguar, I don’t want to be silly about it! Anyway, on the way back to the car the Toucans were croaking their frankly, horrible, croak, obviously excited about the approaching night.

I saw a movement high in one of the very tallest trees. Stayed still and watched, just for a couple of minutes, then, saw a large Spider Monkey – immediately identifiable, even from a distance, thanks to its enormously long limbs – so elegant and graceful. Then came a young monkey, followed by another grown up. I called my family back to watch. I got even worse photos than usual, due to the monkey I was photographing being so high up and far away. I could see it looking at me with great curiosity – monkeys are always just as curious about us as we are of them. So, I will spare you yet more fuzzy pics! I did get a reasonable, considering the circumstances, video of it though – you can see it very clearly, eating its evening meal of leaves followed by more leaves. What a privilege to see this graceful creature in its natural habitat.

Spider Monkey eating, Plantation Road, Panama from Panamajama on Vimeo.

As we headed towards our car, the sun was lowering in the sky giving beautiful dappled light through the palm and other exotic leaves.

Dappled Sunlight through Palm leaves, Plantation Road, Panama


4 thoughts on “Finally! Spider Monkeys!

  1. That’s awesome, Jane! How amazing for you and your family to be able to see spider monkeys. They are graceful creatures.

    The big spider, on the other hand, I could do without.

    ~ Sally

  2. I loved your post Jane. The way you described your walk, I was as excited as if I were there myself! Hooray for spider monkeys! Once when I was hiking in Amboro National Park in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with a group from USAID, a young spider monkey followed us for about two kilometers. We were on the ground, he swung through the trees above us. You’re right–the young ones especially are very curious about humans!

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