Monkeys in Bocas del Toro

Monkeys in Bocas del Toro

Panama has five different species of monkey, but the three you are most likely to see are the tiny tamarin monkeys (Saguinus geoffroyi), white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) and howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata).

Panamanian Tamarin Monkey

The "red-crested" tamarin, is small monkey weighing only 500 grams (1 pound) when adult. The Panamanian species has a bright white chest and arms, and is deep red-brown on the back of the neck, and tortoise mottling down the back and sides. You will find them in second-growth forest, as the dense plant cover helps protect them from predators. They feed on insects and ripe, sweet, fruit.

Tamarins live in families of up to 10 monkeys. Usually only one female in a group will have babies, and these are twins rather than a single infant. The twine are large at birth and grow quickly. Not just the mother, but also the others in the group, look after the growing twins.

Tamarins' call is high pitched, and is very similar to a bird call.

White-throated Capuchin Monkeys

Capuchin monkeys are easily sighted when they are around. When adult they weigh 3 kilograms (around 7 pounds. Their fur is white with black markings, and a round black head-crown which looks a bit like a monk's haircut - hence capuchin monkey.

Capuchins live in mixed social groups of about 15 monkeys. There will be one dominant male. Capuchins eat ripe sugary fruits. In addition because of their size and strength they can pry open the harder fruits and nuts which the smaller monkeys cannot open.

Capuchins need to eat many insects for protein, and spend a lot of the day looking for insects as they travel through the forest. They tend to make a great amount of noise as they travel through the forest, snapping off branches to look for insects or small vertebrates. As they travel, they also talk to others in the group with loud twitters and screams.

Howler Monkeys

The characteristic of this species of monkey is that adult males the loudest natural sound in the tropical forest - a long drawn out howl. This howl will carry for well over a mile, and are used to warn off other troops of Howler monkeys from their patch of jungle. Howler monkeys live in troops of 15 to 20 monkeys of both sexes and all ages

Howlers are among the largest of the Neotropical primates, weighing some 7 kilograms (15 pounds or more) when adult. Males typically are around one third larger than females. Howler monkeys are black with a long fringe of reddish-brown hair on their flanks.

Howlers do not eat insects. Rather, they are vegetarians and each day eat large quantities of leaves which are high in protein. Howler monkeys will also eat fruit and flowers as well.


Bocas del Toro Information