and canopy level of tropical primary and secondary rainforest
and South America
The squirrel monkeys
The most abundant monkey species of the Amazon rainforest, the squirrel monkey forms troops of as many as 300 in the wild. Commonly found near large bodies of water, they lead an arboreal life in the forest canopy.
These opportunistic feeders feast on fruits and leaves when the forests are flooded. In the dry season, they adopt a more insectivorous diet.
Our troop at the Squirrel Monkey Forest is fed carrots, long beans, sweet potatoes, almonds and hazelnuts during token feeding times.
Squirrel monkeys are sexually dimorphic in a seasonal way. Male squirrel monkeys gain weight during the two months prior to the breeding months from September to November, piling on as much as 30 - 40% of their body weight. Water and fat is stored between the muscle and skin on their head, shoulders, upper arms, and ribs. The larger they appear, the more appealing they are to females. It’s probably for this reason that our dominant male is named Arnold (after Schwarzenegger).
Their coat colour ranges from tawny in warm, dry habitats to reddish-orange, even black in dense forests. Leopards with a black coat are commonly referred to as `black panthers’. Like other leopards, they have a spotted coat although their distinctive black rosette markings are much less visible on a black coat. Leopards in East Africa sport circular rosettes while those in South Africa have squarish ones. Cubs are ash-grey with indistinct rosettes. Solid black spots cover a leopard’s chest, feet, and face. Each leopard has a unique coat pattern.
Quit monkeying around
Our monkeys traverse the Squirrel Monkey Forest with their ‘urine-washed’ hands and feet. They use the railing of the boardwalk as their main passageway, leaving the scent of their urine as they go. Be mindful that the monkeys are extremely territorial, so keep your hands (and scent) to yourself. Observe them from a respectful distance and do not reach out to touch them. Please also refrain from bringing food into the aviary.
Together, we protect wildlife
Squirrel monkeys are popular as pets. Illegal hunting and capture for the pet trade or medical research pose threats to their continued survival in the wild. Do not keep exotic pets and get your pets only from responsible sources.