The capuchin monkeys are New World monkeys of the subfamily Cebinae. The range of capuchin monkeys includes Central America and South America as far south as northern Argentina.
Capuchins are black, brown, buff or whitish, but their exact color and pattern depends on the species involved. They reach a length of 30 to 56 cm (12–22 in), with tails that are just as long as the body.
Capuchins Monkeys are diurnal and arboreal. With the exception of a midday nap, they spend their entire day searching for food. At night they sleep in the trees, wedged between branches. They are undemanding regarding their habitat and can thus be found in many differing areas. Potential predators include jaguars, cougars, jaguarundis, coyotes, tayras, snakes, crocodiles and raptors.
The diet of the capuchins is more varied than other monkeys in the family Cebidae. They are omnivores, eating not only fruits, nuts, seeds and buds, but also insects, spiders, birds’ eggs and small vertebrates. Capuchins living near water will also eat crabs and shellfish by cracking their shells with stones.
Capuchins live in groups of 10 to 40 members. These groups consist of related females and their offspring, as well as several males.
Capuchins are considered the most intelligent New World monkeys and are often used in laboratories.
Easily recognized as the “organ grinder” or “greyhound jockey” monkeys, capuchins are sometimes kept as exotic pets. Sometimes they plunder fields and crops and are seen as troublesome by nearby human populations. In some regions they have become rare due to the destruction of their habitat.
They are also used as service animals, sometimes being called “nature’s butlers.”