How loud are howler monkeys?

I often Tweet at 5 am that I’m wide awake because of the howler monkeys that live in my neighborhood. In reply, people from all over the world want to know how the heck these cuddly-looking guys sound — and if they could really wake the whole neighborhood! My friend Maren found out the hard way that yes, they can, and they can even sound wild and dangerous when echoing in your ears for the first time. For the rest of you, I finally got one of the suckers on video. How would you describe the sound?

Howler Monkeys from Abby Tegnelia on Vimeo.


My neighbor Lisa, has had so much experience with the howlers that she can actually talk to them — and they talk back! Watch Lisa egging them on here (she’s the first to grunt). “He follows my lead,” she says, “until he gets his machismo going and wants a howl-off. Then, I fail terribly.” When he really gets riled up at the end, you can start to imagine what it’s like when several of them are going off in the trees hanging over your bedroom!

How to communicate with howler monkeys from Abby Tegnelia on Vimeo.


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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Sounds sort of like a dog’s bark…even my dog thinks so.

  2. They totally do! You should have seen the five dogs I had with me when I was editing… They were racing around looking for their adversary. It was hilarious!

  3. Abs. You crack my metaphorical shitz up. First off. This is posted in category “animal videos” which not only implies that you have more than one, but also that you are interested in being able to group your posts by this tag at some point in your future life. HAHA. Oh lord. Secondly, I just read through like 100 of your blog entries and (obvi) couldn’t stop reading. I still can’t believe how amazing it is what you’re doing with your life and am so thrilled to be a part of your reader community. De una princessa a un otra, mantén el buen trabajo! Besos chicitita!

  4. Oh and DEFINITELY pig. Sounds EXACTLY like a pig.

  5. Abbey!!! From Livorno and beyond! Thanks so much for your comments. I am so jealous of your Spanish adventures right now! Um, yes, you caught me. I have a stash of funny animal videos but just now got the tech savvy to put them up. It takes me a while! I’m keeping up with all of your trouble-making, don’t you worry… Dos besos, chica!!

  6. I will never complain about my 4am European finches EVER again! And Lisa sounds like she fits right in. LOL

  7. @Wanderlust — Lisa DOES fit right in! And she’s from Brooklyn, too. 😉

  8. Hahaha, OMG I loved this post! That noise is beyond annoying, but kinda in a cute way. That would drive me crazy early in the morning. Ahhhh pobrecita!

  9. My friends went to CR on a vacation and came back talking about the howler monkeys. I expected them to sound less like pigs and higher-pitched. I would *not* be a happy camper if they kept waking me up at 5am, though!

  10. Waaay worse than waking up to roosters in Romania. Or loud drunk hostel mates. Wow. Dogs. Pigs. A sick combo of the two??

  11. I think your friend Lisa could start a second career as an monkey caller. Seriously, that was a great impression.


  1. […] in Costa Rica, usually before five am. Curious as to how they sound and how loud they really are? Click here! Warning: they don’t sound as cute as they […]

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