The Blond Capuchin (Sapajus Flavius) is a New World Monkey in the Cebidae family of monkeys and is found in northeastern Brazil. The Blond Capuchin was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2006, with an estimated population of approximately 180 individuals at that time. The Blond Capuchin remains listed as critically endangered with its main threat being deforestation caused by the lumber industry and agriculture.
Blond Capuchins are recognizable by their all golden fur covered bodies and distinct whitish cap upon the crown of their heads. They have pinkish colored flesh on their faces, and the palms of their hands and feet are black in color. A fully grown adult male Blond Capuchin can reach as much as 20 inches in length, with females being just slightly smaller, and can weigh in between 5 and 7 pounds.
The Blond Capuchin’s habitat is primarily located in primary and secondary growth rainforests of northeastern Brazil in the Atlantic forest regions and states of Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Alagoas. Unlike most other members of the Capuchin family, the Blond Capuchin is more commonly found near the forest floor rather than in the rainforest canopy. This is mainly due to the fact that they prefer to eat termites, roots, and other tubers as opposed to fruit found higher in the foliage that most Capuchin species prefer. Their habitat is also under severe threat from deforestation for raising cattle; mainly due to the fact that their range coincides with one of the largest beef producing areas in the world.
Blond Capuchins are omnivores, and they have very unique ways of using tools to gather their food. Though they eat fruit, small invertebrates, and other “easy to obtain” food sources, they have adapted to use tools to help them obtain the roots and termite nests that they prefer to make part of their diet.
Unlike many other Capuchins and South American primates, the Blond Capuchin uses a previously undiscovered method to “fish” for termites. Two methods are commonly used by Blond Capuchins to accomplish this, either by inserting the end of a stick into a termite nest and essentially scraping them out; or to use the stick as a mallet and tap the side of the nest to empty out the termites within.
Blond Capuchins have also been observed using stones as shovels to dig for tubers, roots, and to locate termite nests. This use of tools is nearly unprecedented among primates living in South America, making the Blond Capuchin one of the most advanced tool users on the continent.
Fun Blond Capuchin Facts
- The Blond Capuchin was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 2006, with the dismal population of approximately 180 individuals.
- Blond Capuchins use sticks as tools to access termites inside their nests.
- A fully grown male Blond Capuchin can reach over 20 inches in length and weigh over 7 pounds.
- Blond Capuchins is one of 3 critically endangered Capuchin species, and is widely accepted as the most vulnerable to extinction.
- Blond Capuchins have been observed using stones as shovels to dig for roots and termite nests.