Layla, our Squirrel Monkey

DESCRIPTION

The Squirrel Monkey is a small species of New World Monkey that is natively found in the forests and tropical jungles of Central and South America.

Measuring as little as 25cm from the top of the head to the base of their tail, these tiny primates are more than double that size when including their long tail. Unlike a number of other small monkey species, the tail of the Squirrel Monkey is not prehensile which means that it cannot be used to grip onto branches. Instead, their long tail is used to help the Squirrel Monkey to balance when climbing about on the high branches.

There are five species of Squirrel Monkey found in varying locations which are the Common Squirrel Monkey, the Black-Capped Squirrel Monkey, the Central American Squirrel Monkey, the Golden-BackedSquirrel Monkey and the Black-Headed Squirrel Monkey. All Squirrel Monkey species resemble each other in appearance besides slight variations in fur colour and the region in which they live.

HABITAT

The five different species of Squirrel Monkey are found distributed throughout Central America and into South America as far as the upper Amazon Basin.

Squirrel Monkeys tend to prefer regions of dense, tropical forest that is close to a stream or other flowing water source which is thought to be for safety.

Most active during the day, Squirrel Monkeys are found at the middle level of the forest canopy and will rarely venture towards the top as they are in danger of being caught by birds, or down to the ground in fear of other predators.

Squirrel Monkeys can however, be found in a variety of forest types and have even been known to inhabit areas that have been cleared for agriculture. They are under threat though from habitat loss that is primarily in the form of deforestation for agriculture and growing Human settlements.

DIET

The Squirrel Monkey is an omnivorous animal that eats both small animals, plants and 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.

WHERE DO THEY LIVE?

CONSERVATION STATUS

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