Saimiri sciureus

Range: East of the Andes from Columbia and northern Peru to northeastern Brazil.

Habitat: Forests and cultivated areas, usually along rivers and streams.

Conservation status: On CITES Appendix II (threatened)

Squirrel Monkey

  • • The most common monkey in S. America, but they have been used extensively for biomedical research. Trade is now regulated.
    • Locally, they are used for food, bait, and pets.
    • Active during the day (diurnal)
    • Generally prefer the mid level of the rain forest, but venture into both upper and lower layers in search of insects
    • Diet: insects, along with fruits, seed, spiders, and bird eggs.
    • As with most other New World monkeys, squirrel monkeys have thirty-six teeth; males have much larger upper canine teeth than those of females.
    • Have nails instead of claws.
    • Thighs that are shorter relative to their lower legs, allow them great leaping force.
    • A musky glandular secretion is distributed throughout their fur, especially on the tail, as a scent marking for territory or to leave a trail for others of the troop to follow.
    • Cannot grasp objects with their tails. Instead, they wrap their tails around branches to stabilize them when feeding, and curl them over the shoulders when resting.


    Squirrel Monkey, page 2

    • Associate in bands of 12-100, but are subdivided into groups of adult males, mother-infants, and juveniles. Adult females with their young form the core of the group. Adult males intermingle with the females only during the several months of mating season.
    • Usually during the wet season, a single young is born after 152 to 172 days gestation. Young clings to mother’s back for several weeks, during which time it manages to swing under its mom to nurse regularly. The father doesn't help in raising the young, but other females do (aunts). They pitch in and make sure the little one gets proper care allowing the mom some time off. After 20 days, the baby starts to take s

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