Squirrel monkeys are great jumpers using their tails as rudders and for balance as they leap through the trees. A baby squirrel monkey is a clinger baby, riding on mom’s back for the first few weeks of life. When a baby arrives, “aunties” often help with parental responsibilities. Those “aunties” are probably learning how to be a mom. About one month of age, a youngster will venture off mom’s back to play. Social play helps the youngster bond with his/her peers.
Distribution: Forests of northern South America, in the northern and eastern regions of the Amazon Basin
Diet in the Wild: Insects and fruits
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Monkey chow, varied fruits and vegetables, insects, eggs, bread and seeds
IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population decreasing
Threats: Capture for pet trade, habitat loss
Squirrel monkeys will form community groups of up to 100 members, usually numbering between 20 and 75 individuals and having multiple males and females. Within these groups there is a single, linear hierarchy of dominance, with males usually being dominant to the females.
Squirrel monkeys will sometimes travel with capuchin monkeys, which move through the canopy above them. The capuchin monkeys disturb and flush out insects, making them easy pickings for the squirrel monkeys.