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This species ranges through northern South America, specifically Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
Canopies of tropical and mountain rainforests.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: Fruit, flowers, leaves, insects, birds, eggs, lizards, and small mammals.
At the zoo: Monkey chow, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and eggs.
What Eats It?
Jaguars and large birds of prey consume the hooded capuchin.
Capuchins are very social animals living in groups of six to 30 individuals. These groups consist of related females and their offspring along with several males. There is usually one dominant male who has primary rights to mate with females in the group.
Females reach maturity at about four years of age, males at about seven to eight years of age. Females bear young every two years following a gestation of 160-180 days. Single births are more common, twins are rare. For the first weeks the helpless newborns cling to their mother’s back with arms, legs and tail. Young capuchins can get around on their own at six months but often maintain tail contact with their mother when exploring. They are weaned by one year. Life expectancy in the wild is up to 25 years and they can live over 40 years in captivity.
Capuchins are the most intelligent New World monkeys – perhaps as intelligent as chimpanzees. They are noted for their ability to fashion and use tools. For instance, they have been observed using rocks to crack open nuts. Because of their ability to learn and remember, they were once trained as “organ grinder” monkeys, are often used in movies and have even been trained to assist disabled people with routine tasks around the house.
Get a Grip
Hooded capuchins have a semi-prehensile tail that they can use to grip objects. They have opposable thumbs and big toes on their hands and feet further enabling them to easily manipulate objects. They use their prehensile tail to anchor themselves when climbing around in the trees and to keep them from falling when they sleep. Unlike some monkeys with prehensile tails, capuchins cannot hang by their tail alone.
Although they normally walk on all fours, for short distances capuchins are often observed walking on two legs. This upright posture enables the monkeys to carry and manipulate food or other objects as they move through the forest.
IUCN Status: Least Concern.
Hooded capuchins are threatened by habitat loss and hunting, however due to this species’ high reproductive potential and its habitat flexibility, populations have not been as devastated as other primates under similar circumstances.