Interesting Facts About Squirrel Monkeys – Physical Characteristics

Interesting Facts about Squirrel Monkeys


Want to know some interesting facts about Squirrel monkeys? To be able to completely be familiar with Squirrel Monkeys let us first recognize what monkeys are. Generally, they are intelligent and unlike the apes they usually have tails. Monkeys can either be new world monkey or old world monkey. Africa and Asia are the usual habitat of the Old world monkeys while new world monkeys are usually in America. The difference of these two is that in the old world monkeys, they have narrowed and downward nostrils while in new world monkeys their nostrils are round and face to the side. One of the most common types of monkey in South and Central America are the Squirrel Monkeys. Squirrel monkeys are divided into two groups: Saimiri Sciureus and Saimiri Boliviensis. Here are more interesting facts about the squirrel monkeys.

Physical Characteristics

Squirrel Monkeys As compared to other monkey species they are known for having the largest brain over body mass ratio. They are often greyish in colour with yellow and orange legs. Their face is white and small with black nose and mouth. They have large eyes as well as large hairy ears. Moreover, they possess nails instead of claws. There are distinct characteristics of female squirrel monkey that is similar from a male squirrel monkey. One is having pseudo penis. The same as the male squirrel monkeys, the female squirrel monkeys uses this to display their dominance especially to smaller monkeys. They have 36 teeth and usually males have large upper canines. They also have short and close fur. A normal male squirrel monkey weighs 750 to 1100 grams and a female weighs 500 to 750 grams. They grow as much as 25 to 25 centimetres and a tail of 35cm to 42cm. They can be easily differentiated from apes because of their tail. They have a tail while apes don’t have also apes are usually larger than the monkeys. In various German languages they are called as ‘death’s head monkey’. It is because of the colour of their mouth which is black and their ears and throat which is white in colour.


Squirrel Monkeys are often harmless, shy, silent and non aggressive. They have long tails which are usually longer than their bodies to help them assist from their balance and support as they climb and leap the trees. Squirrel Monkeys are arboreal meaning they often live on the trees but they also descend the ground to find food. They are also diurnal wherein their attention usually centers on the body of water. They are also fast and they travel long distances just to seek food. They urinate their hands and feet whenever they marked their territory for them to track this around.

Another interesting fact, is that squirrel monkeys stands and displays the genitals whenever their making a command toward the group members. This is also effective when a leader squirrel monkey finds it difficult to get the attention of the group which often consists of up to 300 members. They are usually comprised of large groups but when the mating season comes, they immediately leave the group. However, group size is greatly affected by the habitat of squirrel monkeys.

Groups tend to avoid one another but this is because of disputes but is due to natural and unknown factors. Groups may be found together but they don’t stay long only just for a reason and that is to search for food. Unlike the male squirrel Monkeys, the females have special bonds between females of the same group. And also females display dominance not only through their pseudo penises but also by being the central core of the group. Sometimes these creatures can be very agile and they often travel fast throughout the trees in the forest. In addition, males have a sub adult period wherein they are still playing with some children.

Breeding Season

Generally, the squirrel monkey is seasonal breeders. Their mating subjects to seasonal influences usually between September and November. The age of sexual maturity of male from female varies. A male squirrel monkey has an average maturity period of 4 years while female is 2 and a half years. In the wild, they live for about 15 years and in captivity for 20 years. Squirrel monkeys are said to be promiscuous but only within a group.

A mother squirrel monkey gives birth at rainy season at a 150 to 170 gestational period. The birth period is short and happens during heaviest rainfall. The female squirrel monkeys takes care of their infant until they grow up and become independent while the male squirrels or the father takes no part in nursing his child. In squirrel monkeys, temporary relationships between a female squirrel with no child and to another female squirrel monkeys infant. These older females are called by the child as aunts. In mating, there are times that males are not always successful and the reason for this is still unclear. Furthermore, menopause occurs approximately during mid teens.


Squirrel monkeys are omnivores; they eat both plants and animals. Their usual diet consists of insects, birds, eggs, spiders, crabs, leaves, fruits and flowers. They gather their food on the grounds but because they are arboreal the squirrel monkeys don’t stay in the grounds for a long time. What they just do is gather food then immediately climbs up the trees.

As mentioned above, there is no doubt that these little creatures also play an important role in our world. One proven fact is that because of them many plants and trees continued to grow because of their food habits. We already know that Squirrel monkeys feed on plants as well as fruits. As they climb trees they scatter the seeds of the fruit in the ground together with their manure and after few days, the seeds will then sprout to form plants and trees that will essentially contribute to the richness of our rainforest and to our natural resources as well. Monkeys are of big importance not only to our nature but also to science.