The squirrel monkey is a small primate that inhabits tropical rainforests in Central and South America
. It is active both day and night, scurrying between tree branches in the jungle understory and bounding across the forest floor on all fours, where it is sheltered from predation by falcons circling the canopy. Squirrel monkeys are social creatures, forming troops commonly consisting of 30 members or more.
Similar to capuchins
, these omnivorous monkeys are the arboreal goats of the jungle. They feed on an array of fruits and insects
, supplementing their diet with lizards, leaves, flowers, nectar and
buds. Capuchins and squirrel monkeys may forage together during the months of abundance from May through October. During times of scarcity, the larger capuchin will often outrival the squirrel monkey in competition for food. Central American squirrel monkeys and black squirrel monkeys are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).