POTD: Portraits of a squirrel monkey at River Safari

Photo of the Day: The River Safari in Singapore has a wonderful enclosure for squirrel monkeys, where visitors are allowed to wander freely within the enclosure and view the primates up close.

It’s also ideal for photographers looking to shoot portraits of these New World Monkeys.

Due to their smaller size, they are less bold than the larger macaques and steers clear of the visitors to the enclosure. Here’s one of them peering from behind some leaves. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Due to their smaller size, they are less bold than the larger macaques and steer clear of the visitors to the enclosure. Here’s one of them peering from behind some leaves. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

The squirrel monkey comes from the tropical forests of Central and South America, living in the canopy layer, and eats fruits and insects.

Here’s a squirrel monkey looking me in the eye, from the safety of the tree branches. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Here’s a squirrel monkey looking me in the eye, from the safety of the tree branches. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

These monkeys are actually slightly larger than squirrels but are smaller than the regular macaque that we’re more familiar with in this part of the world.

Squirrel monkeys range between 25 to 35 cm tall, with a long and hairy tail that’s 35 to 42 cm long.

This squirrel monkey seems all alert, staring intently at something in the tree branches above it. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

This squirrel monkey seems all alert, staring intently at something in the tree branches above it. Photo taken with an Olympus E450 with 40-150mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Apparently, the tails are not used for climbing but are used more like a balancing pole.

I believe they have a strong sense of smell. During my visit, I saw them zero into food kept in plastic bags or Tupperware containers that visitors kept in their bags, trying to steal them unawares.

* Part of the descriptions of the squirrel monkey was taken from Wikipedia.

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