Scientific Name: Saimiri
Colour: Olive, Grey, Yellow, Black
Life Span: 15 - 20 years
Location: Central and South America
Predator: Birds of Prey, Snakes, Humans
Prey: Fruit, Insects, Flowers
Other Name(s): Deaths Head Monkey
Size (H): 25cm - 36cm (9.8in - 14in)
Weight: 0.75kg -1.1k g (1.7lbs - 2.4lbs)
Top Speed: 35kph (22mph)
Habitat: Dense, tropical jungle close to a stream
Fun Fact: Lives in groups of up to 500 individuals!
Squirrel Monkey Classification and Evolution
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-Backed Squirrel 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.
Squirrel Monkey Anatomy and Appearance
Although both male and female Squirrel Monkeys appear to be almost identical in size and appearance, males actually tend to be slightly larger and heavier than their female counterparts. 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. The Squirrel Monkey also has a tuft of longer and darker hair on its 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 Squirrel Monkey is longer than its body and is quite slim ending in a dark, bushy tip.