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Common squirrel monkey

Saimiri sciureus

Squirrel monkeys are noisy and constantly on the move, often following groups of capuchin monkeys. In the wild, these two species help each other by keeping a look out for predators and with finding food.

Interesting fact: Squirrel monkeys urinate on their hands and rub it on their tails, which is a scent marking technique, called “urine washing”.

Find out more...


Habitat & threats

The Squirrel monkey’s habitat is primarily within the Amazon basin. They prefer to be high in the canopy although they do occasionally come to ground. Birds of prey and snakes are natural predators but huge numbers have been trapped for the pet trade and for medical research.



Squirrel monkeys spend much of the day looking for a wide variety of foods including; nectar and seeds, tree frogs, insects, bird's eggs, snails, lizards, fruit, and occasionally freshwater crabs.


Breeding and social dynamics

Groups can number as many as 100 animals in areas of undisturbed forest with 20 - 30 being more common. Family groups are a mixture of males and females. After a gestation of between 150-160 days one offspring is born.

Females undertake all childcare duties. The majority of females remain with their family group when they become adult while most of the males will leave when they reach maturity and form sub-groups.



Part of a managed European breeding programme.