Despite their generally unaggressive behavior toward humans, New World monkeys will resist restraint and can deliver serious bites in self-defense. An animal attempting to climb on and explore a human might bite vigorously if pushed away or frightened. Former pet animals are especially likely to cause problems. They can form strong attachments to some people and "defend" favored people against other people.

Personnel should avoid sudden movement and loud noises in animal areas; this might be especially important when they are dealing with night monkeys, titis, and especially newly arrived woolly monkeys. Night monkeys seem particularly sensitive to loud noises and changes in routine. Titis might "freeze" and exhibit labored breathing in unfamiliar environments and exhibit similar signs of distress when confronted with changes in their environment. Woolly monkeys sometimes become lethargic and refuse to eat on first arrival at a facility. Extensive gentle attention from a well-trained person is often effective in helping these animals to adjust to a new environment.

Most cebids quickly learn to recognize familiar people and will respond to them in accord with the nature of their experiences. Technicians who deal with the daily care of these animals should interact with their charges primarily in ways that are pleasant for the animals. If they can avoid it, they should not participate in capture or restraint procedures. When it is necessary that such personnel participate in activities that the animals find aversive, the use of a distinctive uniform only for such occasions might facilitate the re-establishment of good relations during routine husbandry. Personnel should routinely devote some time to positive interactions with animals, such as provision of vegetables and fruit rewards during daily observation.

Most cebids will readily move from one cage to another for cleaning and maintenance tasks, and every effort should be made to avoid wetting the animals or requiring them to move across wet floors. They can also be trained to enter transport boxes for individual handling, and this obviates capture with gloves or nets.

Veterinary Care

The veterinary medical care of cebids is similar to that of callitrichids, and readers are referred to the "Veterinary Care" section of Chapter 6 also. In addition to attention to the nutritional requirements of cebids, veterinary personnel should be vigilant for signs of dehydration. Relatively small primates, such as squirrel monkeys, can dehydrate quickly. Squirrel monkeys can dehydrate and develop hypoglycemia in less than 24 hours if their access to water is disrupted (Abee 1985). They will not feed without water, and many New World monkeys will show adverse effects if deprived of food for a day. Most eat more or less continuously during the daylight hours.

Stress responses, mentioned previously, can also influence feeding and drink-

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement