Although each of the world’s seven spider monkey species exhibits slight differences in their ecology, they all occupy similar places in their local food chains. In general, spider monkeys are omnivorous creatures of the rainforest canopy, but the bulk of their diet consists of leaves, fruits and nuts. Jaguars, raptors and large snakes are the most important predators of spider monkeys.
Spider monkeys spend about 22 percent of their time foraging for foods. However, most of this time is dedicated to searching for their favorite foods: ripe fruit. Their fruit-loving tendencies cause the monkeys to play an important role in dispersing the seeds of many fruiting trees of the rainforest. When fruits are not available, the monkeys consume the leaves of a variety of tree species. Additionally, spider monkeys consume eggs, invertebrates and other small creatures from time to time. During the dry season or when food is scarce, the monkeys consume flowers, honey and tree bark.
In addition to their natural predators, spider monkeys are also hunted by humans. Most humans hunt the monkeys for food, but some hunt them for the pet trade as well. When hunting for the pet trade, poachers tend to target mothers who have young offspring. In such situations, the hunters kill the mother and sell the baby to the pet trade.