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The White-headed capuchin
Cebus capucinus


Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Subphylum : Vertebrata
Class : Mammalia Subclass : Theria
Order : Primates
Family : Cebidae
Subfamily : Cebinae
Genus : Cebus

In the height of the trees a group of about thirty monkeys jump from branch to branch. They have black fur on their body, but their face is hairless with a light-colored fur around it: these are white-headed capuchins. Here, in Central America, the locals call them white-faced monkeys.

Each member of the group seems to try to find something to fill its stomach: the majority enjoys fruits and insects but others take delight in eating young leaves or flowers. Regularly, scientists notice them feeding on lizards, crabs, birds, young mammals or frogs… thus capuchins are quiet gatherers as well as dreadful hunters!

In the forest one can often observe a capuchin to rub anti-mosquito, antibiotic or antiseptic plant against his body. This behavior shows his aptitude to use tools, and capacities typical of big monkeys of ancient world. But capuchins know how to use branches to feed as well as to defend themselves with!

Among different species of the cebidae of Latin America, capuchins are those who have largest brains compared to their body. The big intelligence of these primates, curious by nature, may sometimes trick them: these monkeys are often captivated as pets by careless poachers or are given chips and chocolates by unaware tourists.

However, like many species today, the main threat to capuchins is the destruction of its habitat, the tropical forest.

White-headed capuchin

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