Black and Gold Howler Monkeys (Alouatta caraya)

Howler monkeys are named and known for the loud, guttural howls that they routinely use at the beginning and end of
the day. They are the loudest animal in the New World and while their howl is not a piercing sound, it can travel for three miles through dense forest.

These monkeys, the largest in Latin America, are a great example of sexual dimorphism, when females and males of the same species have different colors or appearance. Females and young are a golden color, while the adult males are black. This is a form of camouflage.

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is currently home to a pair, a male and female. Visit our Rainforest Building and watch them swing through their exhibit. You may even get to hear their loud calls!


These large monkeys grow to about 2 ft. in length, not including tail, and have long, soft fur (females are gold, males are black). Males can weigh on average about 15 lbs., sometimes weighing twice as much as the females. These monkeys have a long prehensile tail, with a hairless underside, useful for grabbing onto tree limbs when they are feeding. The hyoid bone in the throat of the howler monkey, and the shape of the jawbone, is especially adapted to produce their loud howl. They live 16-20 years.


Tropical and sub-tropical forests and wooded savannas.


Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.


Mostly young leaves, but also fruit, buds and flowers. At they Zoo, they eat a canned meat mixture, fruits and vegetables, pellets for leaf eaters, hard boiled eggs, and peanuts.

Family Life: 

They breed year round, giving birth to one offspring at a time after a gestation period of 187 days.


Facing pressure due to loss of habitat as well as being hunted for meat and export for the pet trade.