NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Construction crews have put the finishing touches on the new spider monkey exhibit at the Nashville Zoo.

Zoo Keeper Jessica James works with the monkeys every day, and says this new exhibit is a really big deal not only for the zoo and all of us who love being close to animals, but especially for the monkeys.

“Primates are so cool. They challenge you in the best ways because they’re intelligent enough to be able to challenge you, they know what they’re doing, they recognize you,” said James.

“Mexican Spider Monkeys are critically endangered so that is unfortunately the step before extinction in the wild. So having these animals in a situation where we can hopefully breed them and continue their population is huge,” added James.

The monkeys won’t have to worry about predators, poaching or deforestation like they would in the wild.

James said the reason they’re called spider monkeys is because of the shape they make when they’re hanging from trees.

“They have basically five limbs; their tail is another limb for them. And when you see them all sprawled out, they really do look like a spider.”

The new Nashville Zoo residents are named Sandy and Poppy. A ceremonial opening of the exhibit was scheduled for Thursday but had to be postponed due to weather.

The event will now be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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