Capuchin Monkey Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Terry Dunn

Terry has a master's degree in environmental communications and has taught in a variety of settings.

One of the most recognizable and entertaining animals in the forests of Central and South America is the capuchin monkey. Here you will find out what they look like, how they spend their days, and what makes them stand out from other kinds of monkeys.

Introducing Capuchin Monkeys!

Imagine you're in the rain forest and you see a troop of monkeys. Then those monkeys came in for a closer look, became quickly irritated that you were there, started throwing leaves and twigs at you, and if you didn't leave, they began to urinate on you!

Capuchin monkeys, which live in all types of forests in Central America and parts of South America, are very smart and they will try to protect their territory. So really, they probably figure throwing leaves and twigs will scare you away, and urinating is a way of letting you know you're on their turf. If they weren't so small (and kind of adorable when they act fierce) their terror tactics might work.

A capuchin monkey peers out from a tree
capuchin monkey peering out from a tree

Looks and Habits

These little monkeys have a very distinct look. Their face, throat, and chest are white while the rest of their body is black or brown. They got their name, capuchin, because they look like a type of Catholic friar that wears dark robes. Despite their boldness, even the largest ones only grow to be the size of an adult house cat (about 9 pounds). They are long though. Their body is 12-22 inches in length and their tail is the same length.

Capuchin monkeys have a distinct white front
capuchin monkey showing the white front

Capuchins are primates (monkeys and apes) and, like many primates, they live in groups. For capuchins, that means the size of their troop is between six and 40. Most of those are females with their young. There are usually several males, with one being dominant (the boss). The males are not really part of taking care of the young.

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