Size & description
Marmosets have soft and silky hair, and many have tufts of hair or manes on either side of their faces, which are sparsely furred or naked, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). There is a wide variety of colors among marmosets, from black to brown to silver to bright orange.
Marmosets tend to stay in the treetops and behave a lot like squirrels. They have long tails — longer than their bodies, usually — but unlike other New World monkeys (capuchins and squirrel monkeys, for example), their tails are not prehensile; that is, marmosets can’t use their tails to grasp things. However, their tails do help them keep their balance as they scamper among the branches, according to the San Diego Zoo.
Their hands and feet resemble those of squirrels, according to the ADW. Except for the big toe, which have nails, their digits have sharp claws. Also, the big toe and the thumb are not opposable. Marmosets, as well as their close cousins, tamarins, are considered to be the most primitive monkeys because of these anatomical characteristics, according to Dennis O’Neil, a professor of behavioral science at Palomar College in San Marcos, California.
The pygmy marmoset is smallest marmoset — and the smallest monkey. Its length is 4.6 to 6.2 inches (12 to 16 centimeters) and it weighs 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 140 grams). Its tail length is 6.8 to 9 inches (17 to 23 cm), about twice its body length, according to the San Diego Zoo.
Goeldii’s marmoset is one of the larger species, with a length of 8 to 9 inches (21 to 23 cm), and a tail length of 10 to 12.5 inches (25.5 to 32 cm), according to the ADW. They weigh 13.8 to 31.3 ounces (393 to 860 g).
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Offspring Of Marmoset Monkeys
Marmosets are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of foods. Their diet includes insects, fruit, tree sap and other small animals.
Pygmy marmosets love the sap of trees. They saw holes into the bark to get at the sap with their teeth and can make thousands of holes in a small selection of trees.
Marmosets commonly give birth to twins. This is a rarity; all other primate species usually give birth to only one infant at a time, according to O’Neil. Sometimes they have single births or triplets, but these are less common. The exception is the Goeldi’s monkey. It does not have twins.
The gestation period is four to six months. Male marmosets are often the main caregivers of the offspring and stay loyal to their family. They won’t leave, even when tempted by a sexually mature female.
Marmosets are monogamous. The youngsters in the troop help the male with the care of the babies. Just being around a monogamous pair of marmosets will prevent younger ones from sexually maturing. So, they must leave their group to mate, but typically, just the monogamous female in the troop will conceive in a year.
Marmosets live around five to 16 years in the wild.
Marmoset Monkeys for adoption
Now that you have some background on finger monkeys, what should you consider when deciding whether to get one as a pet? The first thing you should check is if it’s legal to have primates, and specifically monkeys, as pets in your state. More than half of all states and the District of Columbia outright prohibit the private ownership of monkeys or allow it only with a specific license, permit or exemption issued by the government of the state, county, or municipality. These tiny marmosets gained popularity as pets in the United States due to their diminutive size and cute faces. However, they are still wild animals. As mentioned above, they use their long teeth to bore into tree bark for food. This makes their bite painful, although not generally dangerous, especially to children and other pets. Finger monkeys are known to be aggressive, particularly males as they reach maturity. As with other monkeys, they’re known to throw their feces when they get angry. These are intelligent animals and their first couple of years of life leave a major imprint. Good and bad habits developed during this time will stay with them for life, so you must devote considerable time to training when they are young. Replicating their natural habitat in captivity is essential. A large cage featuring trees, vines, water, and swings allows them to jump, climb and play as they would in the wild. Direct sunlight is preferred, but a heat lamp or other artificial light source can be attached to the cage if natural light isn’t regularly available. Some breeders will include a “starter” cage kit when you purchase a finger monkey. Provide for their diet through access to trees, fruit, vegetables, and insects. Babies need to be fed every two hours. You should buy or adopt finger monkeys in pairs, at a minimum. Even ample human companionship is not enough to keep these social animals mentally fit. Having the same-species camaraderie is essential to their well-being. They are also susceptible to human diseases including colds, chickenpox and HIV. Get a guarantee from the breeder that your monkeys are healthy. Before deciding to bring one home, find out if there is a veterinarian in your area who specializes in primates. A general vet cannot properly treat these animals.