“When reuniting, A. geoffroyi males regularly exchange embraces and pectoral sniffs with one another and do so with much more frequency than females (K. Slater, C. Schaffner and F. Aureli, unpublished data).” [Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles, ed. by Christina J. Campbell, 2008.] Male spider monkeys develop strong relationships with the other males in their troop, perhaps because the females are the ones who disperse from the natal group. There’s a high degree of familiarity - and probably kinship - among them. So it’s not really surprising that Chiquito “adopted” the men he met during his first week with us, even though he’s only seen them half a dozen times each since then. Olivier, our biologist. Dave, the neighbor who slept in the cage with Chiquito the first night. Tony, a neighbor who kept Chiquito company the day our moving van was unloaded.
What is surprising is that Chiquito has developed a strong dislike for women, which first became apparent the day his former surrogate mother came to visit. He displays aggressively, and most recently grabbed handfuls of hair through the chain link. I’ve been able to “detach” both women he did this to, but won’t give him a third opportunity. And sadly, since the veterinarian we had examine Chiquito and Lolita when they arrived is a woman, it would be foolhardy for her to enter the cage now and we’ll have to find someone else who has experience with wildlife.