Squirrel monkeys is only between 25-35cm long - with a tail of between 35-42cm and are native to Central and South America, as well as ranges in the Amazon. They are found extensively in the tropical forests of these regions, where they nest in the tree canopies overhead. they are very lightweight monkeys. The males weighing in at 0.75-1.1kg, while females are generally smaller and weigh 0.5-0.75kg.
Squirrel monkeys have short tufted greyish fur and has a yellow orange tint on its back and extremities. This tint is especially prominent around their hands and feet and leads to the appearance of almost golden forearms. The squirrel monkey has also been described as the "death's head monkey" due to the skull-like visage that their fur forms around their eyes and their dark mouths.
These monkeys are highly social and in the wild, can be found living in extremely large groups of up to 500 troupe members. These large groups can occasionally break away from each other into smaller troupes. Because of their small size, these monkeys are also very susceptible to being attacked and eaten by snakes and birds of prey in their natural habitat. This has led to them being very fast, and very vocal monkeys that have a large array of calls to serve as warning sounds as well as to keep in contact with other members of their troupe. their tails are not used for climbing, as with most other New World monkeys, but is used as a balancing pole and even as a tool in certain situations.
Just as the males use their genitals to display dominance - Females, who have what is called a "pseudo-penis", also flash this to their smaller troupe members to remind them who is in charge. For marking territory, squirrel monkeys rub their tail and their skin with their own urine. This lets any other troupes know that this space belongs to them and also marks the territory as a "safe space" for your monkey to be in. They can live for up to 20 years in captivity, while their natural lifespan is an average of 15 years.
Squirrel monkeys are omnivores and have a wide diet that consists mainly of fruits and insects, but will also eat seeds, nuts, eggs and even certain leaves and flowers.
Female squirrel monkeys can reach sexual maturity very quickly, anywhere between 2-2.5 years of age, while the male take an average of 3.5-4 years before reaching theirs. Females carry their young for 150-170 days before giving birth and are the only ones to care for the newborn babies. Even while they jump through the trees with their babies clinging to their backs.