Common name: Squirrel monkey
Scientific name: Saimiri oerstedii

Distribution and habitat

They are two subspecies, Saimiri oerstedii oersted and Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus. The two species live totally separated geographically in Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama, these monkeys prefer disturbed forest near human populations and secondary forest.


Taking into account the tail, from the head the length of the titi monkey ranges between 26 and 33 cm. It can weigh from 1.5 to 1.1 kg. Generally the female is smaller than the male. They have a golden back and a gray or black head, their hands are pink and they have very soft and fleshy fingers. Its legs are gray with a white or gray belly.

The squirrel monkey is the smallest monkey in Costa Rica. There are two subspecies, one can be found in the Parrita area, Quepos (Saimiri oerstedii oersted). The other in more towards the south as in Puerto Jiménez. They differ because the one from Puerto Jiménez (Saimiri oerstedii citrinellus) has a black head while the one from the Quepos area is grey.

Both are threatened due to the destruction of their habitat.

History of the titi monkeys of the Natuwa Sanctuary.

The two individuals that you can see in the enclosure of our Natuwa Sanctuary come from an illegal zoo that had a foreigner of German nationality, confiscated by MINAE, they were admitted to the Sanctuary. In addition to them, other animals were seized and transferred to other Sanctuaries.

Unfortunately, since they were kidnapped from the forest, they did not have their mothers to teach them how to find food for themselves, and being fed by the owner of the illegal Zoo, they became dependent on humans. If they are released, they can go home to find easy food where they can be captured and sold. At least in the NATUWA Sanctuary, they have veterinary care and balanced food. They have a huge enclosure where they can enjoy the plants and sunlight. Squirrel monkeys are fed fruits, seeds, and protein in our Sanctuary.