How Does a Squirrel Monkey Protect Itself?

squirrel-monkey-protect-itself Credit: Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers/CC-BY 2.0

The squirrel monkey is a small species of New World monkey whose native habitat is in the forests and tropical jungles of Central and South America. Due to their small size, squirrel monkeys can only protect themselves by traveling together in large groups, also known as troops.

Most troops are made up of 40 to 50 monkeys, but it's not unheard of for the group to reach up to 500 monkeys. In groups of this size, it's easy for squirrel monkeys to fight off most predators. Troops are also made up of a number of subgroups that stick together during the day. For example, adult male squirrel monkeys may make up one group, while pregnant females make up another. At night, the entire group sleeps together, but they break off into their respective subgroups in the morning.

Squirrel monkeys are preyed upon by a range of other animals, from large birds to snakes, so sticking together in large groups is crucial to their survival. Due to deforestation, squirrel monkeys have been forced out of their natural habitat. As a result, they go to farmland and have been known to eat the crops. Thus, humans also pose a risk to squirrel monkeys, because farmers have to come up with potentially dangerous methods to keep them away.