The Facts About a Squirrel Monkey
A squirrel monkey is one of the smallest primate animals. This social animal measures approximately 12 inches long and has a tail that is about 16 inches long. Though their tail isn’t prehensile, they use it to balance and travel through the trees. The squirrel monkey’s diet consists of plant and animal food, and they also lay eggs. Read on to learn more about this amazing animal. Once you know the facts, you’ll be ready to meet the smallest monkey species.
Table of Contents
Small New World monkeys
The most common of the small New World monkeys, the squirrel monkey is found throughout South and Central America. These arboreal, diurnal monkeys use their tail as a tool and balancing pole. They form large groups of up to 500 members, which are often divided into smaller troops. The species is monogamous and shows substantial paternal care for their young. It is a member of the Cebidae family, which includes capuchin and marmoset monkeys.
While most species of small New World monkeys are docile, some are vulnerable to disease. Cebids and woolly monkeys are particularly susceptible to common viral diseases and should not be handled by personnel who suffer from the flu or cold sores. Infected personnel should avoid all contact with cebids for two weeks following their vaccination. Veterinary care for cebids is very similar to that of other New World monkey species.
The females of the squirrel monkeys are the dominant members of their group. Although the males may form temporary relationships with females, they rarely do. Females are more attracted to males than vice versa. The squirrel monkeys’ social structure is unique. Males remain at the periphery of the group during nonbreeding season, while females are centered around the source of water. Social interactions between males and females are usually the focus of the group’s activities during breeding season.
Despite the fact that these mammals are one of the most popular lab animals, few studies have been conducted to understand their social behavior in the wild. The two species that are kept in captivity, Saimiri oerstedi and Saimiri boliviensis, exhibit distinctly different behaviors. Fortunately, researchers have discovered that they can learn a lot about these unique primates by studying the social behavior of these species.
The common misconception that squirrel monkeys only eat nuts is untrue. They also eat seeds, fungi, flowers, buds, leaves, and insects. Unlike most monkeys, they do not hunt. Their diet is mainly comprised of seeds and nuts, but they are known to eat some insects and small birds. Here is a list of their preferred food items.
Squirrel monkeys can range in size from a single pair to a group of 35-50 individuals. It is recommended that squirrel monkeys in captivity be kept in species-typical social groupings. If possible, they should be kept in groups with similar age and gender composition. Whether or not they live in groups depends on the reason for the captive care. These animals are highly social animals and should be kept together as a species.
Squirrel monkeys are highly adaptable to a variety of social groups. They breed with one male and between ten and twelve females and are capable of thriving in both large and small social groups. Infants begin eating solid food at one month of age and stop nursing at around four and a half months. Females show high allomaternal care and may be important for a variety of reasons, including increasing infant survival.
They are among the most widely used neotropical primates for biomedical research. While there is no consensus regarding their evolutionary history, new field data and a molecular cladogram suggest they are closely related to other species. They also diverged from S. boliviensis in the past. Phylogenetic analysis of squirrel monkeys revealed that they diverged from the other species of apes a few million years ago, and that the squirrels share a common ancestor.
Live in tropical forests
Squirrel monkeys are native to the tropical forests of South America, Africa, and Asia. These species play a number of important ecosystem roles in their habitats, including controlling insect populations and spreading seeds in their feces. They are not particularly picky eaters and often move in mixed groups. This means that they aren’t as dependent on the food sources in their immediate environment as other monkey species are.
Squirrel monkeys breed throughout the year, and females give birth to one offspring after a five-month gestation period. The young remain clinging to their mother for the first five to 10 weeks, and then wean themselves around eight or ten months. By the time they reach their third year of life, they are nearly fully independent. Squirrel monkeys live for 15 or 20 years in the wild and a few years in captivity.
Can be kept in zoos
More people are now considering whether animals should be kept in zoos. While some people believe that keeping animals in zoos is wrong, there are many benefits of zoos. Here are some reasons why zoos are good for both the animals and the planet. And as a bonus, you can write your own response to the video. Here are some ideas to get you started.
The most obvious reason is that captive animals do not have a choice in their mates. In fact, many animals are artificially inseminated in captivity to produce young that are sold or traded. In addition, this practice can result in miscarriages or the premature death of newborns. Sometimes the mother rejects her young, and this leads to “surplus” animals. These animals are too closely related to other animals in breeding programs. Marius, the giraffe, was killed for lack of space.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.