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Our species spotlight is from one of our amazing keepers, Ciara, who works with our small primates in the Wild Woods section of the zoo. Ciara is also an avid photographer and we are delighted to share her amazing photos with our visitors.
Tayto Park is home to three mischievous male Squirrel Monkeys. Squirrel Monkeys are very active, intelligent animals so the keepers make sure to provide them with lots of interesting and enjoyable enrichment including puzzle feeder, honey trails, scattered or hidden insects and much more.
Their lovely long tails are not prehensile (capable of grasping) but are perfect for balancing, just what you need for moving through the treetops.
Squirrel monkeys are omnivores. They primarily eat fruits and insects eat but will also enjoy different types of flowers, leaves, buds, nuts, insects, eggs and occasionally small vertebrates.
The Squirrel Monkey is thought to be one of the most intelligent species of primate in the world. They have a very large brain compared to their body size.
Squirrel monkeys live in large groups called "troops" and live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. These troops are multi-male/multi-female groups that can have up to 500 members. These large groups can, however, occasionally break into smaller troops.
These captivating primates have a number of vocal calls, including warning sounds to protect themselves from large falcons, which are a natural threat to them.
Squirrel monkeys can survive 15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.