Capuchin Monkey



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Black Cap Capuchin Monkey

Range: The Black Cap Capuchin can be found in north western and central South America.  

Natural Diet:  Omnivorous by nature, the capuchin monkey will eat insects, small mammals, and fruits, as well as plant matter.

Diet at Rain Forest: Monkey biscuits supplemented with peanuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables. 

Keeper Notes: Our troop of capuchins at RainForest is comprised of one male and five females monkeys that range in age from 11 to 29 years of age.  In the wild the capuchins live on average about 18 years.  In captivity the capuchin can live to be well in their 40's with records indicating some have lived to be 50 years old. 

A highly intelligent monkey with a prehensile tail, the capuchin is also a very social species.

In the wild and in zoos capuchins are diurnal and arboreal, meaning they are active during the day and love to climb in trees, ropes, or other items in their environment.  When a troop of capuchins wishes to move from one tree to another they do so by leaping and climbing.

As is the case with most capuchin monkeys, the Black caps are social animals forming groups of 8 to 15 animals.   In the case of young  males they must leave the group as they mature and seek out new groups in which to start their own troop.   Almost all groups of capuchins are made up of adult and young females who have lived together their entire lives. 

Troops of Black caps are always led by a dominant male.  It is the role of the male to protect the group from both predators and other aggressive groups of capuchins who may invade the territory of the troop.  Predators often are large cat species such as ocelots or margays, as well as large snakes including the Boa Constrictor.  It has been noted by many field observations that the Black Cap Capuchin is not as aggressive towards other species of capuchins as most primates are. It is believed that due to the dense forest growth and large ranges the Black Cap may actually tolerate other troops in their range.






 The highly variable diet of the capuchin monkey makes it an extremely successful inhabitant of the rain forest.  Animals that have the ability to be successful omnivores are not dependant on one type of food for their survival. 

When fruit is scarce the monkeys are able to eat meat in the form of birds, small mammals and reptiles. 


Known as the tufted or black cap capuchin this female clearly shows the "tufts" of hair that give the species one of it's common names. 

The tufts are more pronounced in some of the monkeys than in others of the same species. 

As is often the case with humans, as the monkey ages the facial hair has a tendency to become grey or lighter in color than when the monkey was young.

 This 29 year old female is the oldest in the RainForest Adventures troop, her name is Carlina and she recently became a grand mother when her daughter, Cassie, also one of the troop members at RainForest, gave birth to a baby boy named Calvin.




What's in a name?

The Black Cap Capuchin is actually known as by several names.  The most important name for any animal species is it's Latin or scientific name: in this case it is Cebes appela

Throughout the world animals receive common names given to them by various peoples or cultures.  The Black Cap Capuchin is a classic example of one animal with multiple common names, this monkey is often referred to as the Tufted Capuchin, Brown Capuchin or Black Capuchin.  

Even within the context of one book this animal can be referred to by several different common names, hence the need to actually refer to animals by their scientific name when researching a subject.

One very interesting and clear case of an animal having one and only one name is the Boa constrictor which has both the same common and scientific name and is known by no other name world wide!


Size: 5-11 pounds with males being about 25% heavier than females.

Status in Wild: Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are having an impact on this species, but they are yet to be considered endangered. 

Skull of adult Male Black Cap Capuchin












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