Joey, Sophie, and Kenya are common squirrel monkeys, saimiri sciureus. Joey was born around August 2006. Sophie was born in 2005, and Kenya was born June 20, 2007. I acquired Joey September 1st, 2006. Sofie August 31, 2007, and Kenya June 2009. There are 5 species of squirrel monkeys and 8 sub species. Of the 8 sub-species only 3 are endangered (Critically endangered-S. o. citrinellus, Endangered- S. o. oerstedti, Vulnerable- S. vanzolinii, Least concern-all other sp). Common Squirrel monkeys are not considered endangered species in their native habitats. Although habitat encroachment by humans is their biggest threat in the wild. Squirrel Monkeys are found throughout Central and South American countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, and Venezuela. Their adult weight ranges from 1.5lbs-3lbs.Squirrel monkeys grow to 25 to 35 cm, plus a 35 to 42 cm tail. They weigh 750 to 1100g. Remarkably, the brain mass to body mass ratio for squirrel monkeys is 1:17, which gives them the largest brain, proportionately, of all the primates.Humans have a 1:35 ratio.
Ever since I was a little girl I was always fascinated with monkeys. I remember being around the age of ten. My parents would always ask me when any gift giving holiday came around, be it my birthday or Christmas, what I wanted. My reply was always "A monkey! Don't give me a party, all I want is a monkey!" Needless to say, my parents never gave in and bought me one. Which today I am grateful for, because at the age of 10 I would not have been able to properly care for my monkey. Since I knew at that age I could not afford one and they weren't going to give me one, I gave up asking them. I figured people couldn't have them as pets. But the thought always remained in the back of my mind.
When I got into high school, I became friends with my now boyfriend, Danny. During my junior year of high school, a mutual friend of ours, Chris, told me Danny, well his mother, had a monkey. I said "WHAT, you can really have one as a pet? You HAVE to take me to see her." So one day after school I went to visit Danny at his house to see Dasha, A weeper capuchin. (And of course see Danny too! Love you, baby:)) I fell in love with Dasha. She was so sweet, sitting on Danny's shoulder, trying to pick chewing gum put of my mouth. I only saw her for about 5 minutes, but that was all I needed to get me started again.
Me and Dasha, weeper capuchin (@ 10 years old)
Me and Dasha
Danny and I didn't start dating each other until about 2 years later. He was 1 year older than I and had gone to college, while I stayed in high school. I remained friends with Chris, and during my sophomore year at Florida International University, Danny had moved back into town and a few of us went out to dinner. Danny and I have been together ever since. Because I was in college pursuing my business degree and working, I knew I didn't have time to care for a monkey until I finished school.
In my junior-senior year at FIU, I began researching on my own more in depth via the internet what it took to have a monkey. I learned so much about all types of monkeys and apes. I learned about their care, state regulations, federal regulations, veterinarians in the area. I was like a walking monkey dictionary for a while. I was tied between a capuchin and a squirrel monkey. I finally decide on a squirrel monkey, because they are smaller and I figured it would be easier for me to care for. That and I still live at my parents house and I didn’t think they would appreciate a capuchin swinging on their curtains and opening cabinets…I still was not ready time wise to get him. I knew that when I got my monkey I wanted to be 100% sure that I could dedicate myself to him.
My senior year at FIU, I decided it was time and was the opportune time to get one. I had finished all of the classes for my first Major and was taking a break for a semester. I made the conscious decision after SIX MONTHS or more of research that I was ready to dedicate myself to my monkey for the duration of its lifetime. Danny's mom gave me the contact information to the breeder she purchased Dasha from, which she had become friends with over the years. I met with the breeder around August 5, 2006. He was meeting me to inform me of all the required permits and applications and get them ready for my return. I was going on a 2 week trip to Thailand with Danny and my family. Well he got to my house and I told him, "OK, I have the husbandry form, all filled out, vet and all. I have the permit application with the required copies. What else do I need?" I remember him saying, "Well what do you need me for!" When he told me, "OK Eileen, you will get your monkey when you return from your trip." I was so
over joyed, well I actually started crying, and told him I just wanted to give him a hug. He must have thought I was nuts, really.
As one can imagine, during my entire trip to Thailand, the only thing on my mind was returning to Miami to pick up my baby squirrel monkey. I was going back and forth, with the help of my family, thinking of what I would name him. I was originally going to get a female, which I would name Lola, but now I was getting a male. After going through about 200 names, I finally settled with the name Danny picked, Joey. And it has turned out to be perfect for him.
On September 1st, 2006, the day after arriving from my 30+ hour flight from Thailand, I picked up Joey from the breeder in Miami, FL. I really couldn't wait. The anticipation was killing me. He was so cute. I fell in love with his big brown eyes.
Joey and I, on Sept. 1st, when I picked him up.
Joey giving Grandma Walsh a Kiss
My two boys taking a nap
I was told he was 1 month old. He was about 4-5 inches long, and I am estimating he weighed about .75 lbs. He was still on formula, though I was instructed to begin adding rice cereal and chopped monkey biscuits to his formula. Of course, Danny and I, went straight to visit his parents at their home in central Florida. Grandma Walsh and Danny’s siblings couldn’t wait to meet Joey. Dasha and Joey also met, but Dasha, although 10 times Joey's size, literally, was afraid of him. I think she was a little jealous Joey was getting all the attention. She is such a momma's girl.
And it has been Happily Ever After with my monkeys ever since!
Current pictures of Joey
Interesting Info on Joey
Likes grapes and peanuts
LOVES anything alcoholic...yes I have to be very careful not to drink any alcoholic beverage around him because he will drink it.
Loves anything sweet (although he doesn't get them often)
Enjoys jumping from from curtain rods down to my bed (about a 10 foot drop)
His FAVORITE pass times:
1)Picking at the crown molding in my room (He was the one that started Sofie on it)
1)Taking a bath
From the day I got Joey, I knew that I would eventually get him a companion, because they do better in pairs. Monkeys are social animals. I didn't get two from the get go because I didn't have hands on experience raising one on my own and wanted to learn my first one and gain the necessary experience before getting the second. I was actually going to wait until Joey was a little bit older, but I came across Sophie and could not turn her down.
To make a long story some what short, around April 2007 I joined the Simian Society of America. SSA is an organization that supports responsible ownership of primates. They provide a forum for primate owners to trade ideas, experience, and learn better ways to care for their primates as well as ensure our rights, legislatively, to own primates. Shortly after I joined, I became aware of legislation that would threaten the rights of primate owners. I began to contact people via email whom I believed had a vested interest in primate ownership. Among those was a breeder, who I became acquainted with. Sophie's previous owner bought clothes and treats from this breeder. When Sophie's owner told the breeder she needed to find a new home for Sophie, the breeder immediately thought of me, because she had met me and Joey.
I contacted Sophie's owner and we met. Sophie was so sweet and well behaved. Her previous owner took very good care of her. Sophie was very well socialized with both people and other pets. Sophie would ride her dogs and everything.
I was told Sophie was in between 2.5 and 3 years old. Her previous owner was not told her exact age when purchased. She weighed in at 1.24 lbs. when I took her to the vet 2 weeks ago (September 2007). The vet said she is full grown and in great health.
Sofie posing for the camera
Sofie saying Hi
Sofie enjoying some peanut butter and jelly
This picture reminds me of the nickname Sofie's previous owner gave her "Lenguita"
Sofie and Me
Interesting Info on Sofie
Doesn't like bananas much
Goes crazy for mealworms
Loves grapes, peanuts, and soggy monkey biscuits
Not very into sweets
Her FAVORITE pass times:
1)Shredding any sheet of paper she finds
2) Picking at the crown molding in my room
Dislikes: Anyone touching her nana (Me).
I acquired Kenya in June of 2009. She was 18 months old. It was pretty short notice. Her previous owners were moving to the Dominican Republic, and had made all arrangements with the D.R. Government to take Kenya with them. About 4 weeks prior to leaving, while trying to purchase the plane ticket for Kenya to fly with them, she learned that she would not be able to take her. She needed a permit from the US government, which I believe now to be a CITES permit. The US would not allow her to take her as she did not fit the criteria to transport Kenya out of the country. Her owners were heart broken, but had to leave her here. Her owners had met me several times before, and knew that I would take good care of Kenya, giving her a forever home.
Kenya did very well with me from the beginning. Once she got comfortble and new I was not a threat, she allowed me to handle her fully, and has been a real joy to have around. She gets along with the Tank, our English Bulldog, and Danny, but it will be some time before I can incorporate her into the cage with Joey and Sofie. Joey actually does pretty well. This time around it is Sofie who is having some problems with the newcomer.
Kenya is a very inquisitive little girl. Full of energy. She also can't stand to see me with my hair up. As soon as she sees that I have a pony tail or clip in, she comes to redo my hair pulling out the hair piece, and leaving a mess. I have given up on the hair. So now I always look like a mess from the neck up!
Below are pictures of Kenya!
Dasha is my mother-in-law's black-tufted capuchin. Dasha was born in 1996. She has been a part of Danny's family since she was 1 month old. She is a very happy little monkey. She has a large outdoor cage where she lives during the day with two other capuchin monkeys. Susha is an old lady at about 25-30 years old. Mr. H, named after Horatio on CSI:Miami, is about 15 years old. At night Dasha waits for my mother-in-law to come and get her for some human family time and to settle in for the night in her indoor cage. She loves coming inside each night. On the days that I have had to monkey sit, she comes right to the cage door and jumps on my shoulder to bring her in. It took some time to gain her trust where I could put a leash and collar on her, but it was well worth the time. It is amazing how smart these monkeys are. They can differentiate between very young children, teens, and adults. She loves children in their early teens, and women. Below are some pictures of her playing with my little cousin one night I took her to meet Dasha. Needless to say, my little cousin was in heaven, and had a blast.
Below is Dasha with her "Sister" Kellie. The two of them were pretty much raised together as Kellie was about 3-4 when Dasha was brought into the family.
Dasha keeping quality control of Kellie's homework, and giving some monkey love.
Danny's Mom had to have surgery, so she asked us to monkeysit Dasha. It was the first time Dasha was ever actually cared for out of the home by me (or anyone really). She was such a good girl. It was a nice 2 weeks. Below are some pictures from her stay with us.
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