Capuchins are part of the group of monkeys called New world Monkeys. The name comes from their color which is likened to the Franciscans cowls, and they were called after the monks they looked like.
The Capuchin monkey ranges from the Honduras into South America, and Peru.
Capuchin very much looks like the friars they are named after, right down to their somber features.
They have dark brown or black bodies, arms, lets and talk, leaving the face and throat to be white. They are about 20 inches long when fully grown and may weigh about 2 pounds. They are not a stout monkey but rather one which is slender and still well muscled.
Capuchins are considered one of the very upper class of monkey with regard to intellect.
They are diurnal, that is to say spend the days awake and the nights sleeping.
Capuchins are also considered arboreal. They spend their entire days looking for food, up a tree, and at night sleep balanced between the branches of that tree.
They don’t much care what kind of tree, so long as they have one, but sometimes living up a tree isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Falcons can see them more easily and may take a monkey for a meal. Snakes also prey on them, the larger of the constrictor varieties.
Capuchin monkeys are what are called an omnivore. Like you and me, they will eat not only fruits, nuts and seeds, but also meats. Or perhaps I should say what they consider meat. They eat crabs and shellfish if they are in trees near water.
Capuchins live as a family group and their group may have from of 6 to 40 members. These groups are usually related females and their children as well as several males.
Females will have children about every two years. They gestate for about 180 days, and when they are born the young are very weak and helpless. They will cling to the mother’s chest hair until they are a bit older and will then move to her back to be carried.
Male capuchins usually don’t help to care for the young. Females grow to independence in about four years, while male children will take longer. In captivity they may live for about 45 years, although in the wild they exist for only an about twenty five.
Capuchins are widely believed to be the most intelligent New World monkeys and are too often used in laboratories. For example they remember things and can do simple tasks with other objects.
When it is mosquito season they will crush up insects called millipedes, and rub them over their fur, which is a natural insect repellent.
A group called helping hands in Boston Massachusetts USA has been working with these monkeys to help those who are paralyzed much like a seeing eye dog helps the blind.
They undergo some very deep training and are placed in the home doing such things as washing the face of their patient and microwaving food for them.
Find out more about the Capuchin Monkey over at Wikipedia »