Monkey Forest Tales: Importance of monkeys as preys

Another important role of monkeys in the habitats in which they live in their roles as prey. In today’s post, we are going to talk about this in detail.

If you remember from your biology classes at school, in nature there is a web in which different animals feed on other animals, when an animal eats another animal it is called predator, and the animal that is eaten is called the prey. As a prey and a predator, an animal can be located at different parts in the food web, except for the top predators, the animals who feed on another major predator.

As we saw in my last post, monkeys can be predators, but they can also be prey, mainly from different species of wild cats or other carnivorous such as foxes and tayras. And on some occasions they can be prey for other primate species too. For example, red colobus is a well-known prey for chimpanzees in Africa. In the Neotropics (i.e. Latin America), there are several reports of titi monkey species as opportunistic prey of different species of capuchin monkeys.

In the study area, we had observed black-capped capuchins preying opportunistically on an adult of Brumback’s night monkeys. No other events like this have been observed until now, however, we had seen at least two near predation events of tayras preying on black-capped capuchins and Colombian squirrel monkeys in the study area.

Monkeys in the study area are also prey to feral dogs. Most dogs that had escaped from near farms, had been left in the road, abandon or dogs that had been left to roam freely in the farm’s forest and pastures.

Also, crested caracaras had been observed attacking black-capped capuchin and Colombian squirrel monkeys when they are using the living fences to cross between forest fragments.

In the biggest forest fragments in the study area, we suspect that primates are also preys of ocelots, margays, oncillas, cougar, jaguars, tayras, short-eared dogs, anacondas and crested eagles. All these predators have been observed in the study area but only tayras we had observed attacking monkeys.

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