Its real name is Saimiri Sciureus, but you have probably heard of him as The Squirrel Monkey. This beautiful and small species lives in the tropical rainforest from Center and South America. In Ecuador, due to the Amazon region’s low altitude, we have the privilege to find this animal many forests. In Central America it is very common to find them in the Guiana’s.
This funny monkey with yellow hands and white face moves through the jungle during the day and rest on the trees, normally with small troops. You can find groups from 10 to 100 monkeys. Travelers like Squirrel Monkeys in particular because they are very social and not afraid of humans. They have a good vigilance system against their predators and their diet includes insects, ripe fruits and also the nectar of flowers.
In difference with other monkey species is that Saimiris have no hierarchical organization as part of their behavior traits. Females can have one baby during the dry season and they will carry their infants for as long as 6 months. Males are not allowed to carry them, (there’s got to be a reason…) so only the mother or other female monkeys can hold the babies. When they are born squirrel monkeys are so small that they only weigh 80 to 140 grams. Even when this monkey grows up they are still small; they can measure 37 cm, and their tails range from 26 to 37 cm. Tails are really important for them, because like other monkeys they use it to hold onto branches and move. Squirrel Monkeys can live for many years but the ones who have lived in captivity normally have a life expectation of 30 years.
As many other animals and plants, the squirrel monkey population has been affected by human actions such as deforestation and illegal hunting. Although this species is not in the red list, it has been cataloged as “almost threatened”. In Ecuador, wildlife law protects animals and severely punishes poaching with jail sentences of up to 4 years.
This beautiful species, as many others need support and respect from humans so they can live in a peaceful habitat. There is no harm in watching these playful monkeys -you can even take pictures of them -without flash- as long as we don´t interrupt in their habits and behavior in the forest. The Ecuadorian Amazon is the perfect destination for watching this and other curious species aboard of our cruises.