Before you are plunged into the forests of Bolivia to come face to face with our animals, take time to discover some fascinating facts about Squirrel Monkeys:
- The squirrel monkeys are the New World monkeys of the genus Saimiri. They are the only genus in the subfamily Saimirinae.
- Squirrel monkey fur is short and close, coloured olive at the shoulders and yellowish orange on its back and extremities. Their throat and the ears are white and their mouths are black. The upper part of their head is hairy. This black and white face gives them their German name, 'skull monkeys'.
- Squirrel monkeys grow to 25 to 35 cm, plus a 35 to 42 cm tail. They weigh 750 to 1100g. Remarkably, the brain mass to body mass ratio for squirrel monkeys is 1:17, which gives them the largest brain, proportionately, of all the primates.
- Unlike the other New World monkeys, their tail is not used for climbing, but as a kind of "balancing pole" and also as a tool. Their movements in the branches are extremely speedy.
- They live together in multi-male/multi-female groups with up to 500 members. These large groups can, however, occasionally break into smaller troops.
- They have a number of vocal calls, including warning sounds to protect themselves from large falcons, which are a natural threat to them. Their small body size also makes them susceptible to predators such as snakes and felids.
- The mating of the squirrel monkeys is subject to seasonal influences. Females give birth to young during the rainy season, after a 150- to 170-day gestation.