Scientific name: Saimiri sciureus

The squirrel monkey lives in all types of secondary forests up to 2 000 m in altitude. It moves among the trees at an impressive speed, rarely touching ground and covering 1.5 km each day.
The common squirrel monkey lives in groups of 50 individuals. Of all the primates, it has the heaviest brain in proportion to its body weight: two times heavier than human beings!

Did you know?

It uses its tail as a scarf when cold

The squirrel monkey's tail, unlike other monkeys, is not prehensile (except for the young). What's it used for? As a scarf! When the animal is cold, it wraps it around its body. In the Amazon basin, a zone of scorching heat, the squirrel monkey is cold when the temperature drops just one degree after rainfall. The tail is effective protection. No other animal in this region, where the average temperature is so high, suffers as much from a drop in temperature.

Key figures

  • Height: 30 to 35 cm
  • A tail of about 40 cm
  • Weight: 750 g
  • Gestation period: 160 days with a birth weight of 100 g
  • Life expectancy: 15 years in the wild, up to 30 years in captivity

Linking humans and animals

Spends time with other species

It can be seen in the company of brown capuchin monkeys, olive capuchin monkeys and white-fronted capuchins. It travels several hours with them,
benefiting from the capuchins' exceptional alertness to the presence of predators. The group is closely followed by diverse bird species, such as toucans, which catch animals that have been disturbed by the passing monkeys. In the humid season, when the forest is flooded, even fish accompany the primates' journeys: to eat the fruit that falls in the water!