Squirrel monkey

Squirrel monkey Saimiri sciureus (EEP)

ClassMammalia
OrderPrimates
FamilyCebidae
Size25–37cm
Weight♂ 550–1,400g, ♀ 550–1,200g
Gestation5 months
Birth1
Life-span20 years
Diet
omnivorous (insects, fruit, flowers, gum, small vertebrates, eggs...)

Habitat
tropical forests

Range
South America (Brazil, Guyana)


Squirrel monkeys are so called because of their long tails. These are not prehensile but they can support the weight of a young squirrel.
 
Squirrel monkeys live in large groups of several males and females. Both sexes urinate lightly on their hands then rub them vigorously on the soles of their feet. This behaviour, called ‘urine washing’, is an olfactory means of communication: the urine, which contains sexual steroids, transmits information about the animal’s social and reproductive status.
 
Squirrel monkeys are especially noisy when moving around and have about 20 different vocalisations: purrs, tweets, peeps, strident cries...
 
Females share the carrying and care of the young. This alloparenting allows young females to acquire mothering skills.
 
There are 7 species of squirrel monkey. Though too small to be hunted for their meat, they are sometimes trapped to be sold as pets. But given its significant geographic distribution and relative adaptability to degraded forests, the species is not endangered in the short term.




Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)

  • Not evaluated
    NE
  • Data deficient
    DD
  • Least concern
    LC
  • Near threatened
    NT
  • Vulnerable
    VU
  • Endangered
    EN
  •  Critically endangered
    CR
  • Extinct in the wild
    EW
  • Extinct
    EX

In the zoo