• IUCN Status
    Not threatened, but they are captured for the pet trade.
  • Population
    Exact population unknown, however, it is known to be decreasing due to loss of habitat
  • Diet
    Omnivores, eating primarily fruits and insects. Occasionally they also eat seeds, leaves, flowers, buds, nuts and eggs.
  • Group
  • Size
    25-35 cms long plus a 35-42 cm tail
  • Continent
    Central/South America
  • Lifespan
    15 years in wild 20 years in captivity
  • Weight
    Males 750-1100 grams. Females 500-750 grams
  • Habitat
    Tropical Forests of Central and South America
  • Scientific Name
    Saimiri sciureus

Meet the Common Squirrel Monkey


Common (or Guianan) squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) are South American tropical rainforest animals. Until fairly recently there were only two species of squirrel monkey, however the genus has been now been reclassified into five species -the common squirrel monkey, the Central American squirrel monkey, the bare-eared squirrel monkey, the black squirrel monkey and the black-Capped squirrel monkey

They use all levels of the forest, but forage and travel mainly in the lower canopy and understory. Squirrel monkeys spend most of their time foraging for fruit—a large part of their diet—as well as insects and other small animal prey. 

They have a short, greyish or olive in coloured coat except for their bright yellow legs. It has a white face with a peak of dark fur on the forehead and a dark muzzle. Their tail is not prehensile but it used in balancing as the animal jumps through the trees.



our family troop of common squirrel monkeys at Wolds Wildlife Park

Did you know?

Here are just some of the many things to know about Squirrel Monkeys.

Are squirrel monkeys clever?up arrow

Yes!  They are considered to be one of the cleverest monkeys due to having a large brain compared to the size of it’s body.

Are squirrel monkeys sociable?down arrow

These primates are highly sociable & live in mixed-gender troops of up to 500 however most groups are 40 – 50 strong.  They converge at night to sleep in trees & separate into subgroups during the day to feed.

What do squirrel monkeys eat?down arrow

Squirrel monkeys are omnivores meaning their diet consists of animal & plant matter.  They mostly eat fruits & insects but these monkeys also eat flowers, buds, eggs, nuts & small lizards.

How does a squirrel monkey use it’s tail?down arrow

A squirrel monkey’s tail is not prehensile meaning it can’t use it to wrap around or hold on to branches whilst climbing trees, they use it purely for balance & nothing more.  The tail of the squirrel monkey is longer than it’s body & has quite a slim ending with a dark, bushy tip.

How do squirrel monkeys protect themselves from predators?down arrow

They travel between the mid to lower canopy of trees so as not to be visible to birds of prey.  Snakes are another predator so squirrel monkeys are very rarely seen on the ground.