I’ve often been asked what my favorite animal is. Well, here it is… The pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea). A small species of New World monkey native to rainforests of the western Amazon Basin in South America. The species is notable for being the smallest monkey and one of the smallest primates in the world, at just over 100 grams (3.5 oz). I’ve always wanted to work with them but, alas, have never gotten the chance.
Here are some cool facts about these amazing little critters…
1.) Pygmy marmosets are tiny animals that can fit into human palm. Females are slightly larger than males. On average, pygmy marmoset reaches between 4.75 and 6 inches in length and weight between 3.53 and 4 ounces.
2.) Tail of pygmy marmoset is longer than the body. It is covered with black rings.
3.) Unlike other primates, pygmy marmosets have claws instead of nails. Their claws provide strong grip that is required for moving in the treetops.
4.) Pygmy marmoset is able to leap 15 feet into the air. Another interesting feature is ability to rotate its head for 180 degrees.
5.) Pygmy marmosets use their lower canines to pierce bark and induce leakage of the sap. This sticky liquid is favorite food of pygmy marmosets.
7.) Pygmy marmosets are diurnal animals (active during the day). They spend most of their lifetime in trees, where they can find food and hide from the predators.
8.) Pygmy marmosets are quiet animals. They sometimes produce clicking sounds in communication and high-pitched whistle as a warning of the upcoming danger.
9.) Main predators of pygmy marmosets are pit vipers, tayra and cats such as jaguarundi, ocelot, margay and oncilla.
10.) Pygmy marmosets are territorial animals. Average size of territory is 25 to 100 acres. Troop will defend its territory against other pygmy marmosets.
11.) Pygmy marmosets live in small groups, known as troops, composed of up to 15 animals. Troop consists of breading couple and their offspring.
12.) Pygmy marmosets are monogamous, which means that male and female mate for a lifetime. Pygmy marmosets reach sexual maturity at the age of 1 or 1.5 year. Each couple of pygmy marmosets has two litters per year.
13.) Pygmy marmosets live 10 to 12 years in the wild and up to 16 years in captivity.
Pregnancy lasts 119 to 140 days and ends with two babies (rarely one or three), and they almost always give birth to twin babies. They will spend first two months of their life on the father’s back. Mother is responsible for feeding and cleaning of youngsters.
15.) They are banned from the United States.