Squirrel monkey

Species profile

Name: squirrel monkeys are monkeys belonging to the Saimiri genus. There are two main groups in this genus. The Saimiri sciureus group is made up of the Central American, common, and bare-eared squirrel monkeys. The Saimiri boliviensis group includes the black-capped and black squirrel monkeys.

Appearance: their fur is short and yellowish orange. They have distinctive black-and-white faces which gives them the name ‘death’s head monkey’ in several languages. The two groups can be distinguished by the shape of the white patches above their eyes. They are pointed in the Saimiri sciureus group and rounded in the Saimiri boliviensis group.

Size: squirrel monkeys are small, typically growing between 60 to 77 cm long. Most of this length is made up of their tails. Unlike other types of monkey, their tails are not prehensile but are used as a kind of balancing pole when moving through the trees.

Diet: squirrel monkeys are omnivores primarily eating fruits and insects. Occasionally, they are known to eat seeds, leaves, flowers, buds, nuts, and eggs.

Did you know: despite their small size, squirrel monkeys are thought to be one of the most intelligent species of primate. They are even known to have the largest brain to body mass ratio of all monkey species.

Location: they live in the tropical forests of Central and South America.

Best places to see squirrel monkeys

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see squirrel monkeys are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Madre de Dios
Peru
50%
average
4.8
very good
4
reports