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Saturday, 5 March 2011

The World´s Smallest Monkey

If you´re a sucker for sweet fury animals then you will, with no doubt, love the tree-dwelling Pygmy marmosets (Callithrix pygmaea) which are currently known as the world´s smallest true monkeys. They are also known by the names of “pocket monkeys” and “tiny lions”. Pygmy marmosets are extremely tiny and incredibly cute. At birth the young weigh something like 0.5 ounces (15g). They usually reach adult size by the age of two and can grow about 5 inches (13 cm) long – head and body together; however its tail can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm). The Pygmy marmosets inhabit Brazil, Ecuador , Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.

The pygmy marmoset’s life span in the wild is about 11 to 12 years; however they are known to live up to about 20 years in the zoos. They mainly feed on tree sap or gum (they gouge holes in the bark of trees, and revisit these holes on a daily basis to collect the sap). They also eat some fruits, insects, spiders and small lizards. Pygmy marmosets are active and agile creatures. Their mysterious coloration and tiny size, along with their movements can make them quite complicated for predators to see. They are found in groups of 2 to 6, which are made up of an adult pair and its offspring. Pygmy marmosets are typically born in pairs (although one or three offspring may also occur). The dominant female is the only member of the group that produces offspring. The presence of an adult female can restrain ovulation in other female members of the family. Gestation usually lasts 4.5 months.

Pygmy marmosets are currently not endangered species, though they are listed as special concern or somewhat threatened, due to their size mobility and coloration (it´s just about impossible to count these small monkeys living in the South American forests). The main predators of these sweet fury animals are birds of prey. Another threat to the Pygmy marmosets is the pet trade! These monkeys are supple and adapt to environmental transformations caused by human beings.

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