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Monkey, Squirrel

Monkey, Squirrel

Scientific Name: Saimiri sciureus sciureus

Status: Least Concern

Habitat: tropical rainforests of Central and South America

Diet: Squirrel monkeys are omnivorous, but prefer fruit and insects.

Length: 10–14 inches

Weight: 2 pounds

Squirrel monkeys are one of the few New World monkey species that do not have prehensile tails. Instead, they use their hands and feet to move deftly through the middle canopy, while their tails are used mainly for balance. Often considered pests by the local people, squirrel monkeys will feed on cultivated fruit trees around their habitat.

Squirrel monkeys tend to live in groups of 15 to 75 individuals. Sometimes several groups join together for a period of time, creating large groups of hundreds of monkeys. Each smaller group is centered around several dominant females. Generally a female will give birth to one offspring at a time, and other females will help raise the infant ( a behavior known as allomothering). Squirrel monkeys have different vocalizations to communicate with other members of their group, including an alarm call to alert the others of a nearby predator. Cooperation among squirrel monkey groups is important for their survival.

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