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Rare Brazilian monkeys' ingenious snack strategy

Blond capuchin monkey
Capuchin monkey
Camilla Bione
Blond capuchin monkey
Capuchin monkey

When it comes to preparing a meal, the blonde capuchin monkey, a critically endangered primate living in Brazil's Mata Atlantica region, has quite the repertoire.

Wild capuchins employ a variety of tool-using techniques to get at their prey - tree termites, particularly - according to researchers who studied the monkeys at work. About 180 of the animals are left in the wild. The researchers watched the monkeys climb trees to areas where they thought termite nests were located. They then used a combination of nest tapping and stick rotation to get at their snacks.

The capuchins would shove branches into the opening and then eat any ants found when they withdrew their sticks.

The researchers' findings were published in the journal Biology Letters. For more background, also see: Rediscovery of the capuchin monkey