Its real name is Saimiri Sciureus, but you probably know him as everybody else does: The Squirrel Monkey. This beautiful and small species lives in the tropical rainforest from Center and South America. In Ecuador, due to the low altitude of the Amazon, we have the privilege to find this animal in many of our 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 in the day and lives in the trees, normally with more members of it species. You can find groups from 10 to 100 monkeys in every troop. Tourists like the Squirrel Monkey in particular because he is very social and not so afraid of humans. They have a good vigilance system against their predators and they feed themselves with insects, ripe fruits and also the nectar of flowers.
In difference to other monkey species, there are no hierarchies between the Saimiris. The females can have one baby during the dry season, after caring them for 6 months. The males are not allowed to carry them, so only the mother or other female monkeys can hold the babies. When they are born they are so small that they only weigh 80 to 140 grams. Even when this monkey grows up it is still small; they can measure 37 cm, and just their tail can have from 26 to 37 cm. Their tails are really important for them, because like other monkeys they use it to hold to branches and move. Squirrel Monkeys can live for many years. The ones who have lived in captivity have a life expectation of 30 years.
As many other animal and plant species, the squirrel monkey population is affected by many human factors like deforestation or illegal hunting. Although it is not a species in the red list, it is cataloged as “almost threatened”. In Ecuador, the laws regarding capturing animals are getting more severe due to the increase of animal illegal transportation. The penalty for trafficking wild animals can be 4 years in jail.
This beautiful species, as many others, needs support and respect from humans so they can live peaceful in their 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 home; the forest. The Ecuadorian Amazon is the perfect destination to see this and other curios species living happily and free.
Hotels in the Ecuadorian Amazon where you can see the Squirrel Monkey: