Due to the small size and highly intelligent nature of the Female Squirrel Monkey, they have been captured and kept as pets in both their native regions and around the world.
Although the majority of Squirrel Monkey pets are today bred from captive animals, the capture of them in the past for the exotic pet trade has had an effect on wild populations, particularly in certain areas. The Squirrel Monkey is today however, more threatened by increasing levels of Human activity in their native regions particularly in the form of deforestation for logging and land clearance for agriculture.
Anatomy and Appearance:
Although both male and female appear to be almost identical in size and appearance, Males are bigger than females. On average, they can reach 9.8 to 14 inches in height and 1.7 to 2.4 pounds in weight. Squirrel Monkeys have very distinctively coloured, short fur which is mostly olive or grey in colour with the exception of their bright yellow legs and white face. They also has a tuft of longer and darker hair on it’s forehead and a black or dark brown muzzle. The Squirrel Monkey spends a great deal of time high in the trees and is very well adapted to doing so with incredibly dexterous fingers that are not only great for gripping onto branches, but also come in very useful when opening fruits and holding onto prey. The long tail of the is longer than it’s body
The Squirrel Monkey is an omnivorous animal that eats plants, plant matter in order to survive, feeding during the day in their smaller sub-groups. Squirrel Monkeys have a widely varied diet that is primarily comprised of fruits and insects. They are also known to eat flowers, buds, eggs, nuts, lizards and other small vertebrates that are found amongst the surrounding leaves and branches. The hands and fingers of the Squirrel Monkey are perfectly designed for holding onto food whilst either peeling it or eating it, which it does using it’s small but sharp teeth. However, in areas that have been more effected by deforestation, Squirrel Monkeys have been known to raid agricultural plantations in search of food.
Squirrel Monkey Facts:
- Squirrel monkeys mate from January to March. Males fight with each other to gain opportunity to mate.
- Pregnancy in females lasts five months and ends with one baby. Babies are born during the rainfall season because food supplies are the most abundant at that time.
- Female takes care of the baby on her own. Baby will spend first couple of weeks on the mother’s backs. At the age of 10 months, they become independent and able to fend for themselves.
- Squirrel monkey can survive 15 year in the wild and 20 years in captivity.
- The squirrel monkeys are the New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae.
- Body of squirrel monkeys is covered with fur that is mostly olive or grey in color. Their face, ears and throat are white. Mouths are black. Backs and extremities are covered with yellow-orange fur.
- Long tail of squirrel monkeys is not prehensile, but it provides balance when they move through the treetops.
- Squirrel monkeys are omnivores. They eat different types of flowers, leaves, buds, nuts, insects, lizards and eggs.
- Squirrel monkeys are one of the cleverest monkeys. They have very large brains compared to their body size.
Reproduction and Life Cycles:
At the start of the breeding season, the shoulders of male Squirrel Monkeys broaden and they begin to fight aggressively for their right to mate, with the winner earning mating rights with the most females. Shortly after giving birth, the female Squirrel Monkey will chase away the male who plays no part in raising the single infant and leaves to join his all-male group. Squirrel Monkey births tend to occur during a short period of time which corresponds with the heaviest annual rainfall between June and August. After a gestation period that lasts for around five months, the female Squirrel Monkey begins to carry her young on her back from the first
day. By the time the infant is two months old, it begins to explore more without it’s mother and is almost completely independent by the time it is 10 months old. Young females may stay with or close to their mother for some time but male Squirrel Monkeys will leave her to join a young all-male group.