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The Tiny Squirrel Monkeys of Costa Rica. .

by Skip Licht about a year ago in central america · updated 8 months ago
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One of the cutest members of the animal kingdom here in one of the happiest countries on the planet!

The squirrel monkey is one of four species of primates here in Costa Rica. .

The tiniest of the Costa Rican monkey species is the Central American squirrel monkey. The adult males weigh a little less than 2 pounds. Adult females are even smaller, weighing in at about 1 1/2 pounds! The Central American squirrel monkey has the smallest living range of any Costa Rican monkey, spending their time only in secondary forests and primary forests in the Central & Southern Pacific coastal areas and on the Pacific coast of Panama very close to the southern border of Costa Rican. In 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature changed its conservation status to "vulnerable" after rating it "endangered" since 1982. The Central American squirrel monkey is most often seen in Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park.

Central American squirrel monkeys are very small and skinny with long tails. Much of their body, as well as their hands, feet and forearms, are of a yellowish-brown color. Their stomachs are pale yellow. Just as their alternate common name, the "red-backed squirrel monkey" indicates, they have golden-red colored hair all over their backs. Their hips and shoulders are grayish brown and their tail is also this color, but usually tipped with black.

Central American squirrel monkeys can be distinguished from South American’s common squirrel monkey by the black crown on top of their heads. Central American squirrel monkeys have a crown covered in black hair while South American squirrel monkeys have a brownish-gray crown.

​Like most squirrel monkeys, Central American squirrel monkeys are omnivorous. Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, flowers, invertebrates and small vertebrates. They have been known to attack leaf tents, where fruit-eating bats spend a lot of time.

​Central American squirrel monkeys are most active in morning and late afternoon. They often forage just after sunrise and then again about an hour or so after sunset. They travel along tree branches and use their tail for balance. They're not going to fall out of that tree. . ever!!

These monkeys are wonderful leapers and they know how to grip really well. Their hands and feet are dexterous, allowing them to make quick maneuvers through the trees without slipping. Sometimes when feeding, they sit in an upright position on branches, holding their food in their hand.

Groups of these squirrel monkeys in Costa Rica are found to be very docile and not aggressive at all. Neither sex appears to be dominant over the other. Many studies indicate that females move into other troops more commonly than males and the females readily change groups with no aggression shown. They frequently change partners and living arrangements! This is common and normal. No family tradition here at all!

Central American squirrel monkeys have not been studied very much so their behavioral information is almost non-existent. However, much of their behavior is believed to be quite the same as their sister species, the South American common squirrel monkey.

Squirrel monkeys use complex communication. They have at least 30 calls, consisting of peeps, twitters, chucks and we can't forget their cackles!

"Peeps" are normally used when playing, when exploring and when very frustrated. During feeding, isolation and greeting each other, "twitters" are normally used.

"Chucks" are used the most among squirrel monkeys and are frequently heard between mother/infant interactions, sexual behavior and alarm calls. "Cackles" are low in frequency and are often heard during disturbances or unfriendly encounters.

The most-widely-used displays in squirrel monkeys is also a method of olfactory communication. "Urine washing" is used when a male or female urinates on their hands and feet, then spreads the urine all over their own body. Sometimes urine washing includes marking trails for other group members and displays of dominance.

These are amazing little creatures. So tiny, yet so complex. And when in Costa Rica, be sure to visit the areas in which they can be found. Just another way to experience one of the happiest countries on the planet!

You're invited to visit our websites at: www.costaricagoodnewsreport.com & www.costaricaimmigrationandmovingexperts.com

Also, please enjoy our over 800 episodes of our "Costa Rica Pura Vida Lifestyle Podcast Series". We are found on all major podcast venues, including iHeartRADIO, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Radio FM, Anchor & many more. Here's our link: www.anchor.fm/costa-rica-pura-vida

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About the author

Skip Licht

Costa Rica is a magical place. Since November, 2002, when I first visited this country, I have been in love with the people, the culture, its biodiversity, the food. . everything about it makes me happy! Now I share my excitement with you!

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