The squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) is a small New World Monkey, weighing only about 1 to 3 lbs, the males of the species being slightly larger than the females. There are two species of squirrel monkeys, the common squirrel monkey and the red-backed squirrel monkey.

They have a body length of about 9 to 15 inches, their tails about 14 to 19 inches long. The skin on the lips and around the nostrils of a squirrel monkey are black and almost devoid of hair. The most common coloration is a yellow to yellowish-green color, the underside and around the eyes, ears, and throat a paler yellow to white. The feet of the monkey are reddish or yellow with shoulders suffused with gray.

Squirrel monkeys have a short but well developed thumb. Their thighs are shorter relative to their lower legs, allowing more force when jumping. They are primarily arboreal and can move almost silently through the upper canopy of a forest. Their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, nuts, fruit, bird eggs, and young birds.

Their lifespan is anywhere from 15 to 21 years. Females sexually mature at 2 to 3 years of age while males mature at 4 to 5 years of age. Male squirrel monkeys increase their weight before breeding season and fight violently with other males for a mate Females carry their babies in their stomachs between 152 to 172 days and normally give birth to one infant at a time. The young is weaned at 5 to 10 months of age and becomes independent at 1 year.

Squirrel monkeys are found in South America, from Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. They live in habitats ranging from living in thickets, mangrove swamps, and the lower layers and edges of tall evergreen tropical rainforests. Being diurnal animals, they are awake during the day and sleep at night, spending much of the day ranging through the forest in search for insects. They distribute a musky grandular secretion throughout their fur (normally their tails) as scent to mark territory or to leave a trail for others in the troop, usually 10 to 50 individuals, to follow.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.