The Common Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri Sciureus), also known as the Humboldt’s Squirrel Monkey and the Ecuadorian Squirrel Monkey, is a New World Monkey in the Cebidae family of monkeys inhabiting a very wide range of area throughout the tropical Amazon Basin region of South America. Similar in appearance to many other members of the family, the Common Squirrel Monkey has large tufts of hair protruding from its ears, making it distinct from other types of Squirrel Monkeys with the same coloring. Common Squirrel Monkeys are often captured for medical research and the pet trade, mainly because their inquisitive nature makes them a highly desirable pet; though they require a tremendous amount of food, space, and care.
The Common Squirrel Monkey’s habitat is primarily found in the Amazon Basin within several countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Paraguay and Venezuela. In present day, there is even a growing population extending into Florida and the Caribbean Islands due to people taking them as pets. In nature, the Common Squirrel Monkey prefers to live in the middle canopy, but can sometimes be spotted on the ground or up in the high canopy. They prefer vegetation that offers camouflage from birds of prey in the rainforest, savannah, mangroves, or marshlands.
The Common Squirrel Monkey is an omnivore and prefers to eat a combination of berry-like fruit from branches and small insects; making it both frugivorous and insectivorous. Though it prefers fruit, the Common Squirrel Monkey will drink nectar when it is unavailable and supplement its diet with insects such as spiders and small vertebrates such as tree frogs. The Common Squirrel Monkey acquires most of its water supply from the fruits it consumes, but will drink from puddles on the ground in the rainforest if the need arises.
Fun Bare-Eared Squirrel Monkey Facts
- During the mating season, the adult male Common Squirrel Monkey becomes fatter, excited, aggressive, and highly vocal.
- A Bare-Eared Squirrel Monkey group is called a troop, barrel, tribe, or cartload.
- Common Squirrel Monkey infants become independent fairly rapidly, spending only a small percentage of time with their mothers at only 5 to 8 months of age.
- Squirrel Monkeys have the largest brains of all primates relative to their body size; about 4-5% of their body weight.