White Faced Capuchin Monkey

The capuchin monkey earned its name from its distinctive black body and white cowl, which resembles the outfits worn by capuchin monks.  These small primates have a prehensile tail that serves to prop or anchor them while they travel through the trees of their territory foraging for food.  In order to mark their territory, members of the capuchin troop will urinate on their hands and then rub their feet and fur -- leaving behind a urine trail wherever they go. 

The white-faced capuchin will forage all the way from the forest canopy to the forest floor for a variety of foods. In fact, of all the monkeys found in the Americas, capuchins have the most varied diets, and utilize 95 different plant species. They primarily feed on fruits and insects, but they will also eat small vertebrates, birds, nuts, berries, seeds, flowers, buds, shoots, bark, gums, spiders, eggs, and even oysters and crabs. Despite their versatile diet, capuchins are known as choosy eaters, picking out grubs from fruit before eating it and testing foods for ripeness by smelling and squeezing. They have also been reported to use tools such as stones in order to open oysters and nuts.

photo M. Noonan

photo M. Noonan

The capuchin monkey is also considered one of the most clever animals on the planet.  In terms of brain size to body weight ratio, the capuchin is second only to man!  


CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.