Howler Monkeys – Loud Mouths of Nicaragua

If you ever manage to visit the beautiful forests of Nicaragua, there is one creature that you are far more likely to hear before you see it. The howler monkey (Alouatta sp.) is widely famed for its incredibly loud vocalizations and people often think that they are much closer than they really are as a result.

Most people are quite surprised to learn that howler monkeys are generally considered to be the loudest land animal on earth. The only creature reported to make a louder sound than the howler monkey is that of the blue whale. However, if you ever manage to hear the grunts and barks that howler monkeys make from up close you will soon find yourself readily acknowledging this fact.

Howler monkeys are one of the largest monkeys found in the New World and there are nine different species of howler monkey. Their size can range from between 56 to 92 centimeters excluding their tails and their coats are often fairly long and black. Their tails are often quite long and strong enough to hold themselves up with though they seldom use just their tail for this purpose, preferring to make use of their unusual hands instead. The average howler monkey may live between 15 and 20 years and they generally live in large family groups of up to eighteen individuals. They are found across South and Central America and so are commonly seen in Nicaragua.

The species of howler monkey that is native to Nicaragua wildlife is that of the Mantled Howler Monkey. Like most other types of Howler Monkeys, they feed on fruit, nuts, flowers, buds and the leaves from tree canopies. The first two fingers of each hand are set apart from the other three and are opposable, which enables them to spend most of their lives in the treetops. The Mantled Howler’s differ most visibly from other howler monkeys in that their backs and shoulders are covered with long brownish fur. This coloration becomes more evident with age and the male’s scrotum turns white after reaching puberty.

Very few howler monkeys have been tamed by indigenous peoples because of their noise capabilities and also because of their melancholy on being captured. In the wild they spend about 80% of their time resting and so they are one of the least active monkeys in the world.