Dazzle the Squirrel Monkey is a Mom!

Update 8/24/21: Being a mom is a tough job and, unfortunately, infants born to first-time squirrel monkey mothers have a 50 percent mortality rate. Dazzle’s infant passed away overnight with no obvious cause of death. A necropsy will be performed as part of our normal procedure. We are saddened by the loss although it is not unexpected for this species. While Dazzle was upset early this morning, she is now eating well and interacting with Parker as usual. Our thoughts go out to our animal care team as well as to Dazzle during this time.

Dazzle the squirrel monkey is a mom! Early Sunday morning, around 4:30 a.m. she gave birth to her first-ever infant.

“Dazzle is sweetly attentive to her new little one. She spent the first day learning to carry and maneuver with a youngster clinging to her, and has become more comfortable carrying and moving with the infant, grasping his or her tail as she moves quickly to prevent them from falling, and also being nice and still for nursing sessions,” said Dr. Sue Tygelski, Director of Operations at Reid Park Zoo. 

There are now four squirrel monkeys at Reid Park Zoo: Dazzle, her infant, Parker (the infant’s father), and Glitter. The sex of the youngster is not known at this time. Staff will be monitoring the pair closely as first-time moms have a higher infant mortality rate than experienced moms. 

Squirrel monkeys are one of the smallest primates in the world, measuring about 12.5 inches in body length, with about 16 inches of tail. Unlike many monkey species, squirrel monkeys use their hands to travel through the trees, relying on their tail for balance.

Squirrel monkeys carry their infants on their backs, and Dazzle and her infant can be seen exhibiting this behavior in the Temple of Tiny Monkeys in Reid Park Zoo’s South America loop. The infant weighs an estimated about 100 grams or just under a quarter of a pound, so look carefully when you stop by!