Squirrel monkeys live high up in the canopy of tropical forests. Living in these areas provides them protection from most of their predatory enemies like birds of prey. They can live to be 20 years or even older depending on their living conditions. They are close to being on the endangered species list because of the high numbers that have been taken for pets. They are also endangered because of the deforestation of their habitats.
They are a small monkey about the same size as a squirrel. They weigh between one to three pounds and have an overall length of between 10 to 19 inches. The males are usually larger then the females in size. The back, ears and legs are a yellow and grey mixed color. Their face is mostly white with a dark grey or black scalp area.
The Squirrel monkey lives mainly in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama. However, some have been spotted living in the southern part of the state of Florida. The monkeys in Florida are from pets that have been released into the wild.
These monkeys live on both insects and fruits, with their preference being fruit. They also have been known to eat small animals such as frogs, lizards and even baby birds. They receive most of the water in their diet from the fruits and other foods they eat. They also drink water from rain that collects in the branches of the trees. If water is not available in the trees, they will venture down to the forest floor to drink from water found there.
They socialize in separate groups depending on their gender. The adult males tend to stay in a group by themselves, away from the females and young except during mating season. Then they will mate with the females and then return to the male group. The males also use urine placed on their hands and feet to mark their territory as they travel through the trees. The females have their own group, separate from the males and older young. The young also maintain a small group by themselves that are watched over by the females. The females usually only have one baby and it is born with the ability to climb. This lessens the female's job of needing to carry the young around like other species of monkeys. They also travel in troops that can range from 7 to 12, but they have been known to reach 100 in size.