Wildlife Costa Rica – 16 Squirrel Monkey Facts

These are part of the family of the New World Monkeys and one of the 4 species of monkeys living in Costa Rica. Their full name is Black Crowned Central American Squirrel Monkeys and can be found in the tropical forests of the  Pacific Coasts of Costa Rica.

The tropical forests of the rest of Central America are also home to some of them too. So open well your eyes, you might be able to catch a glimpse of one of them.

Wildlife Costa Rica - 16 Squirrel Monkey Facts

Here are some Squirrel Monkey Facts

1. Unlike the other New World monkeys, their tail is not used for climbing, but as a kind of “balancing pole” and as a tool.

2. Squirrel monkey’s fur is short and close. Its color is olive at the shoulders and yellowish orange on its back and extremities. Their throat and the ears are white and their mouths are black. Their head is orange or reddish-orange in color, with a black cap.

3. Squirrel monkeys are omnivores. They love eating fruits and insects. Occasionally they also eat nuts, buds, eggs, and small vertebrates.

4. Squirrel monkeys are very small primates. They only grow up to 25 to 35 cm, plus a 35 to 42 cm tail.

5. These mammals live about 15 years old in the wild and about 20 years in captivity.

6. They are diurnal and arboreal. Their movements in the branches are extremely speedy. By the time you look at a branch moving, the monkey might already be gone.

7. They live together in multi-male/multi-female groups with up to 500 members. These large groups can, however, occasionally break into smaller troops.

8. By 1983, the Central American squirrel monkey had already declined drastically by deforestation. Currently, deforestation and habitat fragmentation due to agriculture and tourism development are still the major causes of decline. Insecticide spraying, the pet trade, and electrocution from electric power lines have also negatively affected these monkeys. They are on the endangered list.

Wildlife Costa Rica - 16 Squirrel Monkey Facts

9. Squirrel monkeys spread urine on the bottoms of the hands and feet. So other monkeys can smell this as it marks the territory.

10. There are five species of squirrel monkey that can be found in Central and South America.

11. Squirrel monkeys live in dense tropical rainforests, wetlands, marshes, and mangrove forests. Being able to hide among the tree branches gives them an advantage against predators.

12. These guys are extremely social. They all live in troops, normal-sized groups have between 40 to 50 members, bet there have been cases where troops have up to 500 members.

13. Another great asset that helped monkeys be successful at finding food is their amazing eyesight. It allows them to distinguish colors. The colors of fruits.

14. They even have something similar to a language. Scientists have been able to distinguish 30 different calls that they use for different situations.

15. Their main natural predators are large birds and snakes.

16. Mating season happens from February to march. That way after five months of gestations, babies are born in the middle of the rainy season, when food is most abundant. Small ones become independent at 10 months old. They usually leave their troop.

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Wildlife Costa Rica - 16 Squirrel Monkey Facts

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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