Spider Monkeys Sneak Around for Sex
Spider monkeys prefer secret trysts, Nancy Averett reports in the current issue of Audubon.
“Make love, not war—and do it in private, please,” might be an appropriate mantra for the male spider monkey. Instead of competing openly for a mate, he prefers to sneak off with his lover, hoping others don’t notice.
“Males work together to protect their territory from outsiders, which requires a lot of cooperation,” says K. Nicole Gibson, whose findings are published in the American Journal of Primatology. “By mating in secret they can maintain those relationships and still get access to the females.”
They even keep their voices down when making “pre-copulatory vocalizations,” unlike other primates that loudly advertise their intentions. There may be an upside to all this secrecy. Once they’re safely ensconced in their hidden love nest, spider monkeys take their time—14 minutes on average per copulation, compared with just 8 seconds for chimps.—Nancy Averett
Find spider monkeys fascinating? Click here to read "Primate Central," a captivating eco-travel feature about adventurers who travel the globe to add primates to their life lists, and help conserve these incredible creatures.!--/end tags-->