Wildlife Discovery : Capuchin Monkeys

The Capuchin Monkeys are the group of New World monkeys classified as genus Cebus. The range of the Capuchin Monkeys includes Central America (Honduras) and middle South America (middle Brazil, eastern Peru, Paraguay).

The Capuchin Monkeys are the group of New World monkeys classified as genus Cebus. The range of the Capuchin Monkeys includes Central America (Honduras) and middle South America (middle Brazil, eastern Peru, Paraguay).

Their body, arms, legs and tail are all dark (black or brown) in colour, while the face, throat and chest are white, while their head have a black cap. Capuchin Monkeys reach a length of 30 to 56 centimetres (12 - 22 inches), with tails that are just as long as their body. Capuchin Monkeys weigh up to 1.3 kilograms (2 - 3 pounds), with brains of mass weighing 35 - 40 grams. They are considered the most intelligent New World monkeys.

Like most New World monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys are diurnal and arboreal. With the exception of a midday nap, they spend their entire day searching for food. At night they sleep in the trees, wedged between branches.

Capuchin Monkeys are undemanding regarding their habitat and can therefore be found in many differing areas. Among the natural enemies of the capuchins are large falcons, cats and snakes.

The diet of the Capuchin Monkey is more varied than that of other monkeys in the family Cebidae. Capuchin Monkeys are omnivores, eating not only fruits, nuts, seeds and buds, but also insects, spiders, bird eggs and small vertebrates. Capuchin Monkeys living near water will also eat crabs and shellfish by cracking their shells with stones.

Easily recognized as the ‘organ grinder’ monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys are sometimes kept as exotic pets. They are also sometimes used as service animals. Sometimes they plunder fields and crops and are seen as troublesome by nearby human communities. In some regions they have become rare due to the destruction of their habitat.

Capuchin Monkeys live together in groups of 6 to 40 members. These groups consist of related females and their offspring, as well as several males. Usually groups are dominated by a single male, who has primary rights to mate with the females of the group.

Mutual grooming as well as vocalization serves as communication and stabilization of the group dynamics. Capuchin Monkeys are territorial animals, distinctly marking a central area of their territory with urine and defending it against intruders.

Females bear young every 2 years following a 160 to 180 day gestation. The young cling to their mother’s chest until they are larger, whereupon they move to her back. Adult male capuchins rarely participate in caring for the young.

Within 4 years for females and 8 years for males, juveniles become fully mature. In captivity, individuals have reached the age of 45 years, although life expectancy in their natural surroundings is only 15 to 25 years.

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