Common squirrel monkey

Saimiri sciureus

The common squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) is a small New World primate from the Cebidae (squirrel monkey) family, and native to the tropical areas of South America.

The common squirrel monkey can be found primarily in the Amazon Basin, including territories in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Paraguay and Venezuela; a small population has been introduced to Southern Florida and many of the Caribbean Islands. A group of free-ranging individuals was spotted and photographed in 2009 at the Tijuca Forest in Rio de Janeiro - possibly the result of an illegal release or of an escape from the pet trade; by 2010, the Squirrel Monkey had begun to be considered as an invasive species in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, and there were concerns about its role as a predator of eggs of endangered bird species. The common squirrel monkey prefers to live in the middle canopy, but will occasionally come to the ground or go up into the high canopy. They like vegetation which provides good cover from birds of prey in the rainforest, savannah, mangroves, or marshlands.

The common squirrel monkey is considered both frugivorous and insectivorous, preferring berry-like fruit on branches. It also looks for insects, and small vertebrates, such as tree frogs. It obtains a majority of water from the foods eaten, and will also obtain water from holes in trees and puddles on the ground. When fruit is scarce, the common squirrel monkey will drink nectar.

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