Important advice: due to safety measures against Covid-19, access to Saimiri Forest walk-through is temporarily suspended. Health and safety of our guests and workers have always been our highest priority. It is our goal that you continue to feel safe and comfortable when visiting us. Please check the closed areas and your obligations as a visitor on this page before coming to the park.
The common squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) is the most common species of squirrel monkey, inhabiting the northern and western region of the Amazon basin, including countries such as Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia. Despite their long tail, they move in a quadruped way, either walking or running, using their tail to maintain balance in their agile movements and jumps between the branches of the trees.
They are animals of a diurnal and arboreal nature, living on riverbanks and in flooded forests. Omnivorous, they feed mainly on fruit, some insects, leaves and seeds, spending about three quarters of the day looking for food and small prey to eat. In the dry seasons, when there is no fruit, the saimiri are able to subsist only on animal prey.
They form large groups of several males and females that can reach up to 300 saimiri, although the usual number is between 20 and 75 individuals in a group. The hierarchy is usually linear, very marked in both sexes, although males are more dominant than females and aggressions are rare in the female sex. In contrast, males, who watch for predators to threaten the group, form coalitions and may attack each other. Saimiri also tend to form mixed groups with other primate species, such as capuchin monkeys, benefiting from their loud alarm sound against possible predators in the group, mainly birds of prey, cats and snakes, and they also take advantage of the commotion caused by these other species in the treetops, as they scare off insects in their path.
Copulations and births are highly seasonal, rarely lasting more than two months in the year, and births usually occur every two years. After a gestation period of 160-170 days, the saimiri gives birth to a single offspring, which is weaned at four to six months of age. The males do not take care of the offspring. The life expectancy of this species is between 15 and 20 years, with a longevity of up to 27 years.
Although they are not hunted for food due to their small size, they are captured for the pet market in some countries such as Colombia or Ecuador and are threatened by the destruction of their habitat by agriculture and livestock. The Selwo Marina squirrel group is part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).