Squirrel monkeys live in groups of up to 300 individuals (with multiple males and females). At dusk they gather on a tree to sleep, huddling close to one another with their backs facing outwards to resist the humidity. The females control the group. Males live on the periphery, away from the females and their offspring, and are only allowed to join the group during the reproduction period. There is a hierarchy within the groups of males, although it is not systematically the dominant male who reproduces the most.
Squirrel monkeys are found in Guyana and Brazil.
The reproduction period lasts from September to November. The offspring are born between February and April, when food is at its most abundant.
Squirrel monkeys mark their territory by sneezing and urinating. Like most primates, they socialise by grooming one another and communicating with vocal calls. They alert the entire group if a predator (eagle or snake) approaches or if a new feeding zone is found. Squirrel monkeys live in the company of other primates (capuchin monkeys or other members of the cebus genus) in order to benefit from their exceptional vigilance when it comes to predators. The group is followed by animals including toucans, which fly in to catch any creatures disturbed by the primates’ movements. Fish also benefit from any fruit knocked into the water.
Mangroves, wooded swamps on high ground
Fruit, leaves, insects and eggs
A baby squirrel monkey weighs around 100 g at birth, one seventh of the mother’s body weight. In human terms, this would be like a woman giving birth to a baby weighing around 10 kg.