What Do Howler Monkeys Eat | Howler Monkey Diet

Howler monkeys are the only species of the New World Monkey which specializes in eating leaves. They are the only folivores as they mostly rely on fruits, leaves, flowers, nuts and buds. Howlers prefer to consume mature leaves but these leaves offer much of cellulose which provides less energy. Sometimes howlers eat too many leaves in one sitting that they could end up eating leaves of poisonous species.

What Do Howler Monkeys Eat

Howlers are also thought to raid bird’s nest and eat eggs. However green matter makes the essential part of howler monkey’s diet. During a year howlers eat leaves (48%), fruits (42%), and flowers (10%). However during the period when ripe fruits go scarce, howlers tend to consume leaves which make up 85 – 100% of the diet.

Mantled Howler

  • The mantled howler takes most of its energy from leaves which make up 60% of the monkey’s diet. The monkey is highly selective about the type of tree it feeds on. They have a short range of 0.6 mi (1 km).
  • However it likes to eat young leaves as compared to mature leaves. By doing so, mantled howlers reduce the risk of eating toxic leaves. Mature leaves carry more toxins while young leaves do not only have fewer toxins but they are far more nutrients and are easier to digest.
  • They seem to eat low energy food source as a result of which howlers take rest most of the day.
  • Mantled howlers supplement their diet with some fruits which also makes up much of its diet. Depends on the season, howlers’ diet may consist of 50% of fruits sometimes even more.
  • Mantled howlers will consume leaves and fruits from Ficus trees. During the dry season, they seem to rely on flowers.
  • Most of the times, it takes water from tree holes especially during the wet season.
what do howler monkeys eat
Mantled Howler Monkey eating a leaf ©www.dianarebmanphotography.com

Mexican Howler

The diet of Mexican howler monkey consists of

  • Fruits
  • Flowers
  • Petioles
  • Buds
  • Leaves

They are mainly frugivores. Mexican howlers search for fruits and young leaves for the most part of the day.

Guatemalan Black Howler

  • The Guatemalan Black Howler relies heavily on fruits and leaves while flowers form only a tiny portion of the diet. They will eat most of the trees from breadnut tree which makes up 86% of the howler monkey’s diet.
  • They spend almost 70 – 80% of the day resting because of the fact that they eat low-energy foods.

Brown Howler

The brown howler monkey is frugivorous as well as folivores. Leaves and trees make up large portion of the diet. Prominent among trees are

  • Ficus
  • Zanthoxylum
  • Eugenia

Those howlers that are found in higher latitudes are less likely to feed on leaves.

They eat mature leaves which are less fibrous. Brown howlers will also consume

  • Buds
  • Flowers
  • Fruits
  • Stems
  • Seeds
  • Petioles
  • Twigs
  • Wild figs
  • Moss

Black Howlers

Black howlers are most likely to feed on leaves with fruits make up only a small portion of the diet. They are one of the least active monkeys of the New World Monkey.

Venezuelan Red Howler

The Venezuelan red howler monkey is known to rely on many food items such as

  • Fruits
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Small animals

All these items are the best source of providing sugar which is vital for the growth of the animal. Leaves are the most significant part of the monkey’s diet without which they could hardly survive a week.

Red howlers will not only eat young leaves but also mature leaves.