Pygmy Marmoset Fast Facts
Pygmy marmosets are one of the smallest species of monkey in the world. They weight only 100g with a tail that is longer than its body! The tail is not prehensile, but assists with balance as they run through the treetops. They can also rotate their head 180 degrees, allowing them to spot dangers from all directions, and possess sharp claws to grip when climbing. They live in small, multigender groups of two to nine individuals, headed by a dominant breeding pair, however, it is the female which is dominant over all the group. Both male and female pygmy marmosets have orange-brown fur which provides them with camouflage against the leaves and the trees. This is key to protect them from predators including cats, eagles, and snakes.
Pygmy marmosets are gumivores. They have specialised teeth adaptations which enables them to gnaw holes in the bark of trees, allowing the gum to flow out. They will also eat invertebrates and small reptiles.
Pygmy marmosets living in a social group with only one breeding female. She will give birth twice a year, typically to twins. Their gestation lasts 119 to 140 days. Pygmy marmosets are ‘cooperative breeders’, meaning the others in the group will assist rearing the young. The babies are carried around by an adult for around 2 months, until they become too large to carry. The group will continue to care for the young, by offering them food and teaching them to forage. Pygmy marmosets reach sexual maturity from about 1 ½ years old.
Threats + Conservation
Pygmy marmosets are listed as LEAST CONCERN on the IUCN Red List. They don’t currently face any major threats, although in some regions there are suffering from localised habitat destruction which may be causing some declines. Their newest and most concerning threat is the pet trade. Their small size and adorable appearance makes them in popular demand for the pet trade. Whilst it is common knowledge that primates do not make good pets, countries are working to implement this legally. The United States has banned the import of primates, and most South American countries do not allow primate exports anymore.
1. The pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey but not the smallest primate- this is the mouse lemur. 2. Pygmy marmosets are able to leap 15 feet into the air. 3. They can rotate their heads 180 degrees to detect predators.