When is a squirrel not a squirrel?
A squirrel monkey named Madonna gave birth either late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The new baby was discovered Saturday morning by zookeepers clinging to her back. This squirrel monkey is the 19th born at the zoo since 1967.
The tiny primate, which has yet to be named, joins its mother, its father, Jeebes, and four other squirrel monkeys.
Squirrel monkeys are found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They have the proportionately largest brain of all primates.
Adult squirrel monkeys range from nine to nearly 14 inches, plus a 13- to 17-inch-long tail, and weigh from one to just over two pounds. The males are usually larger.
Squirrel monkeys spend most of their time in trees and are primarily active during the day. Unlike many other New World monkeys, they use their tails not for climbing, but for maintaining balance as they run and jump among vines and branches, the release said.
Squirrel monkeys are omnivorous, eating primarily fruits and insects. They live roughly 15 years in the wild, but zoo residents can reach 20 years old.
Critical thinking challenge: Why don’t zookeepers know for sure when the new monkey was born?
- Posted on March 16, 2013