Squirrel monkeys are of the genus Saimiri and their name is of Tupi origin. These animals live in the tropical forests of Central and South America in the canopy layer.
Such monkeys feature a slender body, with short greyish dense coat. Their legs, ears, throat, head and back are yellow to grey-green. Other parts of the body are yellow to white and the face is white. These animals have a tail that often curls over their shoulder while resting.
Instead of claws, they have nails and are also known as small nervous primates because they are the smallest of the primate family Cebidae, weighting only one to three pounds. The length of their body is about nine to nineteen inches and tail is approximately fourteen to nineteen inches long.
Squirrel monkeys are diurnal, feeding in the morning and are agile in the trees, using their long tail. These animals form groups of 2 to 30 monkeys that often break up and rejoin, being only a few males in a single group.
The habitat of these interesting monkeys is in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, in the northern part of South America to Peru, as well as in Costa Rica and Panama.
Birth usually takes place on February to April. Females become sexually mature at two and a half years old, while males at four years old. After birth, the baby clings to the back of his mother. The father doesn’t help the female in raising the young, only other mothers with new babies will do that.
They eat mainly insects, which make about 75% to 80% of a squirrel monkey diet. These monkeys don’t eat leaves.
Their main enemy is the eagle, but baboons and porcupines are also a threat. One of Squirrel monkeys subspecies that lives on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is threatened.