Establishing baseline activity budgets for zoo-housed captive animals can be important in tracking behavior changes that may indicate medical or other concerns, as well as assessing overall welfare and the need for implementation of interventions such as increased amounts of enrichment. This study sought to calculate activity budgets for the current spider monkeys residing at the Central Florida Zoo, a father-daughter pair of Ateles geoffroyi. Having a baseline activity budget is also valuable because major changes in behavior may accompany the upcoming introduction of new individuals to this particular group of spider monkeys. BORIS behavior coding software was used to log behavior continuously over 58.3 hours of observation. The individuals in this zoo setting spent significantly more time stationary (resting or still and awake) and less time engaged in feeding behavior than wild spider monkeys. However, they spent as much or more of their time moving than Ateles species in natural settings. Temperature and exhibit renovation had minimal to no observed effects on activity budgets. Human presence usually has the effect of increasing activity and vigilance of animals while decreasing resting time, but on busier days at the zoo, one subject (a pet-reared male spider monkey) spent more time resting and less time moving than when there were fewer zoo visitors. No aggression was observed, but affiliative social behavior like allogrooming and embracing was observed infrequently. The study animals appeared to lack the bimodal pattern of activity (with activity peaking early and late in the day) common in wild spider monkeys, a finding that is consistent with activity budgets of other spider monkeys that are frequently exposed to humans. Time of day affected activity budgets to a small degree; the monkeys became more active later in the day and spent more time resting in the morning.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Mansfield, Kate


Logiudice, Frank


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Undergraduate Studies

Degree Program

Interdisciplinary Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Zoology Commons