New Spider Monkey Exhibit Now Open
Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the opening of its newest exhibit, Spider Monkey: Treetop Passage, graciously funded by Dottie Frist. The addition of Mexican spider monkeys will mark the first monkey species to be housed at Nashville Zoo in more than four years.
“We are excited to reveal a brand new, world class exhibit to Nashville,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo President. “We’ve been working hard to open four outstanding exhibits this year and we thank the community and our loyal members for their support and patience during this time of outstanding growth for the Zoo.”
To enter the new exhibit, Zoo guests will cross an elevated wooden bridge ending in a treetop view of these lively, inquisitive Mexican spider monkeys swinging among the trees. Half siblings, Sandy and Poppy, came to Nashville from Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, FL. The Zoo plans to add two more females to the group in the near future. A covered viewing building will feature materials from around the world including Peruvian textiles and decorative masks hand-selected by Schwartz. Bamboo imported from Vietnam and Colombia and environmentally sustainable materials like reclaimed pallet wood and synthetic thatch will complement the exhibit’s Central American theme.
“We are very excited to introduce the community to Mexican spider monkeys," says Greg Peccie, Director of Animal Operations. “The way these animals use their tails as they move around and explore their environment is fascinating. Guests visiting the Zoo will enjoy watching these engaging primates in their new habitat.”
Mexican spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi vellerosus) are critically endangered in Central America’s rainforest due to habitat loss and destruction. Nashville Zoo will participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for this species to increase the captive population.
Spider monkeys are adapted for an arboreal lifestyle swinging through the trees with a hand over hand motion called semi-brachiation. Their long prehensile tail can support their entire weight and is often used as a third arm for movement. Spider monkeys lack visible thumbs which allows for greater ease while moving through the branches.
To learn more about the Zoo’s newest spider monkey exhibit, visit www.nashvillezoo.org/new-exhibits.