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Squirrel monkey

Have you seen these guys at the Zoo?

If you’ve visited the Zoo, you’ve likely met a lot of our more than 900 animal residents. Some animals are easy to spot, but others are often not as easy to see because of their habitat set up, their personalities or their sleep cycles among other things. We wanted to start a “Meet the Animals” section of our blog to introduce you to some of the residents that you may (or may not have) met yet!

Wander into Rainforest Revealed and you’re likely to see swinging black-handed spider monkeys, swimming capybaras, a looming jaguar and napping two-toed sloths. If you haven’t yet spotted our squirrel monkeys, however, you are in for a treat!

We have two squirrel monkeys at the Zoo, Pablo and Bruiser, whose habitat sits in between that of our sloths and jaguar. This duo, who are half-brothers, were not born at our Zoo, but moved to our Zoo in 2002 from another AZA-accredited facility!

Pablo, who is 22, and Bruiser, who is 21, are both well past the median lifespan for their species. Fortunately, neither show signs of mobility issues, so their habitat is set up as it would be for any squirrel monkey, regardless of age. According to keepers, their advanced ages do not slow them down – they use every part of their habitat!

As with any animal resident who has been with us for some time, our animal care team have some fun nicknames for these two primates. Pablo is also called “Pablito,” “Pablino” and “Mr. Pablo.” Bruiser is referred to as “Brusington,” “Bruisey” and “Mr. Bruiser.”

The pair has resided in our Latin American section of the Zoo for the past two decades. In addition to their habitat, they also have access to a tunnel system, where they can sometimes be spotted taking a nap!

“Pablo and Bruiser typically spend their days foraging for diet items in enrichment, taking naps, and sometimes, on chilly mornings, you can see them at the top of their habitat soaking up the sunshine with their tails tucked over their body,” said Rainforest Revealed Supervisor Sidnee Santana-Mellor.

Like other Zoo residents, Pablo and Bruiser are target trained as well as trained to enter crates should they need to be moved. For Bruiser, crate training was especially important because he has diabetes, which is treated with monthly injections. “Training him to crate has made the injections more voluntary and puts less stress on him,” said Sidnee. “We are currently starting injection training with Bruiser as well to make it even easier for him to get the treatment that he needs.”

Of course, Pablo and Bruiser have their own individual personalities, which may make it easier for you to tell them apart! Pablo is the more cautious of the two but will do anything for worms. He usually lets Bruiser take the lead! Bruiser has a personality fit for his name – he is very curious and is the first one to try new things (even if it means pushing Pablo out of the way).

Squirrel monkeys are native to South American rainforests and generally only weigh around two pounds as adults (Pablo and Bruiser are each just over two pounds). Although their conservation status is Least Concern, their native populations are decreasing due to habitat loss.

On your next visit to the Zoo, see if you can spot Pablo and Bruiser in their Rainforest Revealed habitat!

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.