How Long Do Squirrel Monkeys Live in Captivity?
Among all the squirrel monkey species, S. boliviensis has one of the longest breeding seasons, a little over three months. Estrus, or the time between ovulation and estrus, lasts approximately seven days, and females enter estrus about the same time. It is possible that the scent marking of females influences synchronization of mating seasons. Females reach weaning age between four and six months.
Social behaviour of squirrel monkeys
Squirrel monkeys form social groups consisting of single males and multiple females. Troops can consist of dozens to hundreds of animals, and their size varies widely depending on the type of habitat. Squirrels spend most of their day traveling and resting, and the remainder of their time engaged in miscellaneous activities such as social behaviour and self-grooming.
Despite the social nature of these creatures, few studies have investigated their behaviour in the wild. Squirrel monkeys are known to behave differently than their wild cousins. The social behaviour of Saimiri oerstedi (Central America), Saimiri boliviensis (South America), and Sciureus (South America) are distinct from each other. The researchers studied the social behavior of these three species, but only two are currently kept in captivity.
Although sporadic, acute aggression is common in some primate societies, this type of behavior is generally contained by learned social skills. Observational observations of squirrel monkeys in captivity require knowledge of species-typical behaviour. Small groups and inadequate habitats may lead to persistent aggressive behaviour. The findings of this study suggest that social interactions between squirrel monkeys in captivity are regulated by a combination of environmental factors.
Diet of squirrel monkeys
A study conducted by Sue Boinski in the 1990s grouped squirrel monkeys into two major species: S. sciureus and S. boliviensis. The species was originally divided into two groups based on their habitats. The sciureus group has white fur that extends above the eyes in a pointed V. Its tails are smaller than its counterparts. The boliviensis group has arched white fur over the eyes but does not extend to the forehead.
Female Squirrel monkeys have gray and black bodies and a distinctive roman arch pattern over the eyes. Males are darker than females and weigh from 700 to 900 g. They are diurnal, active during the day, and sleep at night. These monkeys produce between twenty and thirty distinct vocalizations that are used in communication throughout their forest habitats. While males and females often stay together, they will eventually leave the mother to join the all-male group.
The distribution of available resources in their habitats varies, and the level of intragroup feeding competition between individual squirrels varies between sites. In Costa Rica, S. boliviensis spends more than half of their time traveling, about 10% foraging for insects, and the rest of their day resting and socializing. Squirrel monkeys are relatively quiet, but they are highly responsive to noises.
Requirements for keeping squirrel monkeys in captivity
Female squirrel monkeys undergo physiological and behavioral changes during their reproductive cycle. During non-breeding season, they do not interact with other females. During the breeding season, however, they display increased sexual responses, including copulation, anogenital inspection, and displays. They also exhibit reduced aggression. These changes in behavior are crucial to understanding the biology of male and female squirrel monkeys and the conditions required for their successful breeding.
One of the most important conditions for successful breeding and reintroduction of squirrel monkeys in captivity is to maintain their natural social groups. Females generally outnumber males, so it is essential to maintain a ratio of one male to three females in each group. It is possible to breed up to ten males per group in captivity, provided that the monkeys come from the same natal group. In addition, all-male groups can attract more tourists. Fortunately, there is rarely a surplus of female squirrel monkeys in zoos.
In addition to being a good pet for the home, squirrel monkeys are also a useful tool for research. Their eye movements are similar to those of macaque monkeys, but their oculomotor range is much narrower than that of macaques. In addition to their eye movements, squirrel monkeys also exhibit a variety of social behaviors, including facial expressions and vocalizations.
How long do squirrel monkeys live in the wild?
Up to 20 years.
How long do squirrel monkeys live in captivity?
Up to 30 years.
What do squirrel monkeys eat in the wild?
A diet of insects nuts fruits and leaves.
What do squirrel monkeys eat in captivity?
A diet of commercially prepared monkey chow fruits and vegetables.
Where do squirrel monkeys live in the wild?
Squirrel monkeys are found throughout the tropical forests of Central and South America.
Where do squirrel monkeys live in captivity?
Squirrel monkeys are found in zoos research facilities and sanctuaries throughout the world.
What is the social structure of wild squirrel monkeys?
Squirrel monkeys live in troops of 10-30 individuals with a strict hierarchy based on age and sex.
What is the social structure of captive squirrel monkeys?
Social structure varies depending on the size and composition of the group but typically consists of a few close-knit families.
How do squirrel monkeys communicate?
Squirrel monkeys communicate using a variety of vocalizations facial expressions and body postures.
What is the average lifespan of a wild squirrel monkey?
What is the average lifespan of a captive squirrel monkey?
What are the predators of wild squirrel monkeys?
Small cats snakes birds of prey and large primates.
What are the predators of captive squirrel monkeys?
There are no natural predators of squirrel monkeys in captivity but they may be at risk from other primates and humans.
What is the natural habitat of squirrel monkeys?
The tropical forests of Central and South America.
What is the habitat of captive squirrel monkeys?
Captive squirrel monkeys are found in zoos research facilities and sanctuaries throughout the world.
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.