Readers’ wildlife photos

March 25, 2023 • 8:15 am

Reader Mike Canzoneri sent some photos of squirrel monkeys, which you can enlarge by clicking on them. He also sent a brief bio:

I was born and raised in the city of Chicago and have been a backyard zoologist since I was a little kid. I moved to Miami, FL in 1990 to be close to Everglades National Park (where I was a volunteer), then to Austin, TX in 1994 (for a better job) and finally to Costa Rica in 2005, where I spent my meager nest egg on three separate rain forest properties. I built a house on my southern Pacific coast rain forest property (about 100 acres) and live there most of the time.

Mike’s captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

This is my first submission to Why Evolution is True Readers’ Wildlife Photos: endangered black-crowned Central American squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii).

In January and February, the females give birth and the babies stay on their mothers’ backs until well into summer. Once the babies are close to the size of their mothers, the mothers try to shake them off but the babies resist for as long as they can.

All shots taken with my Nikon D850 and either the Nikkor 300mm f/4 or 500mm f/5.6 PF prime lens, except this first one taken with my Nikon D750 and Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF.

The mothers wear the babies like backpacks as they run up and down the trees and jump from one tree to the next, and they get tired and need to rest from time to time. I caught this mother doing a face plant into the bamboo to take a 30 second power nap.

I notice that the mothers try to help each other and stick together. I was lucky enough to be ready with my camera when this scene played out in front of me, where two mothers, each with a baby, all engaged in a group hug.

I’m not sure what had this baby’s attention but I liked the way the photo came out.

This baby was pushed off by its mother so she could take a break. She didn’t go too far and the baby clung to the branch, frozen in fear, until the mother came back a few minutes later.

Here is a shot of a mother nursing her baby.

Taken about two minutes after the shot right above, here is the baby holding on tightly to the mother.

Here’s a juvenile squirrel monkey just hanging out in a small tree.

To end the set I chose this photo of a juvenile gazing pensively up at the canopy.


18 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. Thanks! I have literally thousands of images of just squirrel monkeys but maybe only dozens that I consider print worthy. A casual observer or even a researcher can get a front row seat to view their behavior just sitting on my porch. Most of the squirrel monkey photos I have were taken from underneath the shade of my roof from a corner of my house.

  1. Very nice photos, thanks! Are the babies able to be backpacks right from birth or is there a transition from frontpack (?) to backpack? Presumably there’s no fanny-pack stage :-).

  2. Mike, I love all the pictures, but the group hug is really touching. Have you seen this group of monkeys often enough that you can identify individuals?

    1. Thanks, Rik! Yes, the group hug shot is my favorite of all the shots I’ve taken of these guys. Yes, I see the same couple groups of these guys and there are a couple I’m able to recognize, including one I named “Stumpy” because he has no tail.

  3. Fantastic! Please share more.
    I love the group hug of moms and babies. Community support between moms!
    It takes a village!

    1. Thanks! Yes, as I have time I will definitely share more…I have photos of other monkeys (I have seen all four species in Costa Rica on my Golfito area property right from my front porch) and, of course, I photograph birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and more. Most of the larger mammals are nocturnal, so they are a bit more challenging, but I have videos of things like ocelots, pacas, kinkajous, cacomistles and more from my trail cameras.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I’ve done a fair amount of reforesting and I’m still buying land, as I’m able, and planting trees.

      By adding some concrete tanks of water and keeping the seasonal lagoon in front of my house full of water year round and by providing more food for tadpoles, I’d estimate that I’ve tripled the frog population right around my house over the last 2 years. I basically have a frog factory. On rainy nights around my house, you’ll hear and see hundreds of these (not to mention all the other species):

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