Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Facts - Squirrel Monkeys

Little Rudy Patootie
Today in Friday Facts we bring you information about squirrel monkeys.   They are shy, quiet and non-aggressive.  Rudy (affectionately known as Rudy Patootie) is a new resident of the sanctuary, approximately one and a half years old.  He has beautiful colouring and is thriving with new neighbours Cheeko, Pockets and Jenkins.  A sweet little guy, he loves jumping and playing with Cheeko.  His favourite foods are grapes, bananas and dried cranberries. In the warm weather Rudy enjoys being outside “talking” with Seek, Whisky, Minnie and Chili and enjoying the wind in is hair.

Did you know…

·         Saimiri sciureus is the scientific name of the common squirrel monkey.

·         Squirrel monkeys come from Central America and are arboreal primates, living in trees and rarely coming down to the ground.

·         Favourite foods are fruits, seeds, nuts, insects and small bird eggs.  If there is a lack of these items, they can survive on nectar from flowering plants.

·         It is only during infancy, that the tail of a squirrel monkey is prehensile. When they reach maturity, the tail is mostly used for balancing which helps them jump from one tree to another.

·         As with most primates, squirrel monkeys are highly social and live in close knit groups which can sometimes number into the hundreds of individuals. Typically they divide into male, females and youngsters and juvenile sub-groups.

·         Squirrel monkeys squeak and chirp and so far scientists in the field have identified thirty different vocalizations.  We are learning many of them at the sanctuary from Rudy!

·         Although numerous in the wild, deforestation and habitat destruction due to agriculture and tourism development as well as insecticide spraying are causing a decline in numbers.

·         Squirrel monkeys are small (approximately one foot in length) and “cute” so people wrongly conclude they can be pets.  The illegal capture and trafficking of these monkeys as part of the pet trade is of high concern, as it results in decimation of wild family groups.

·         Squirrel monkeys mark their territory by urinating on their hands and feet. Then they rub their limbs all over their body, leaving a scent trail wherever they walk. Scientists believe that this behaviour helps them track other members of the group, control their body temperature or is a form of self-cleaning.

·         You can become a Foster Friend of Rudy by visiting our website!

·         Foster Friends makes a great holiday gift!

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