Photographing Rainforest Monkeys


f5.6 1/125 sec ISO 1600

The Rainforest I have taken you to in the post on Rainforest Birds, also shares its space with monkeys. They have netted enclosures to keep them in, but the space they have is pretty generous for a zoo. You would think the space is bright and sunny, but like a real rainforest having a treed canopy, it is darkened by the dense vegetation. The large, open exhibit does have artificial light added, just not enough for a fast shutter speed.

Golden Lion Monkeyf5.6 1/100 sec ISO 1600

Here is a funny story about these mischievous monkeys when the exhibit was being dedicated.

All the local dignitaries were invited for a showing when the exhibit was just competed. All the animals were yet to be added the day of dedication so that everything would be perfect.

Monkey-4The lush rainforest was filled with beautiful tropical flowers all forced in bloom for the opening. When the monkeys were placed in the exhibit, they proceeded to eat all the blooming plants. Needless to say, the dignitaries saw no flowers and a lot of chewed plants.

Some still bloom in the monkey exhibit, but very few can be seen. Where the monkeys are housed, the plants are chewed off each time they grow.

Monkey-1f5.6 1/250 sec ISO 2000

The bad monkeys also killed a blue-crowned motmot that got tangled in the enclosure netting upon landing. They wasted no time dispensing with the poor bird.


f5.6 1/250 sec ISO 2000

My own experience with Howlers was no fun either. On my research project in Monteverdi, the monkeys would throw stuff at us each time we took the shortcut through their territory. They would also come down and bluff us like the troupe was going to attack. They verbalized in unison so loud it hurt one’s ears.


This is a Howler doing what they do…


This howler and Tamarin are buddies and keep all the other spider and capuchin monkeys away from them. I probably would too, those monkeys are cute, but a pest.


And always up to something!

Little-Monkeyf5.6  1/100 sec  ISO 800

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9 Responses to Photographing Rainforest Monkeys

  1. I love the facial expressions you were able to capture. And interesting facts about their social lives. Thanks for sharing.

  2. David says:

    I think you captured some great poses with the first two photos and the two Howler photos. I also like your compositions for those photos.

  3. Wonderful creatures and so beautifully captured, Donna!! 🙂

  4. Love Monkeys – Great Captures 🙂 Happy Weekend!

  5. I agree they are so cute and your photos are amazing, but based on my experience the one unbreakable rule is you do not want to make the monkeys mad; they are definitely not pleasant when they are mad.

  6. Pat says:

    Wonderful captures.

  7. A.M.B. says:

    These guys look like such characters! I love their expressive faces. Great pictures, as usual.

  8. I agree you capture great faces…I always give monkeys a wide berth.

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