Animal Guide: Pygmy Marmoset

Pygmy Marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea)

  • Type: Mammal
  • Family: Cebidae
  • Habitat: Tropical rainforest, preferably seasonally flooded riverine forests
  • Location: Western Amazonia; Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia
  • Diet: Tree sap, gums, insects, and fruits
  • Average lifespan in the wild: 12 years
  • Size: Head and body 4.7-6 in (12-15.2 cm); tail 6.8-9 in (17.2-22.9 cm)
  • Weight: 4.20 oz (119 g)

Even though they are the smallest of all the monkeys, pygmy marmosets can leap more than 16 feet. At only 5.35 inches and 4.2 ounces on average, they expertly maneuver through the canopy, scampering vertically up trees using their sharp claw-like fingernails. All other primates have flat fingernails, but pygmy marmosets’ specialized claws are much better for gripping limbs while feeding on tree sap. The diet of pygmy marmosets is largely comprised of tree exudates – the sap, gum, resin or latex that oozes out of plants. The incisors, which are narrow and elongated, help these tiny animals gnaw holes in tree trunks to release sap. Insects and fruit supplement their diet.

Pygmy marmosets live in social groups of two to nine individuals. The dominant female is the only female in the group to mate. Every member in the group aids in the care of offspring. For the first two weeks of their lives, babies are always carried. After that time, they are left in a hole or hidden tangle of vines while the adults forage for food. As the offspring grow, they spend a great deal of their time playing in the trees. When they reach adulthood, they either remain in their natal group as a non-breeding subordinate or venture out to join a new group.

Pygmy marmosets have a v-shaped lower jawbone, and thus a pointed face. Their tales are very long compared to their bodies, measuring about eight inches and banded with faint black and tan rings. The length of their head and body combined is always shorter than the length of their tail. Their fur is a brownish yellow, and dense tufts of hair sweep back from the forehead.

Did you know: Pygmy marmosets give birth to fraternal twins at an unusually high rate — while most primates give birth to only one offspring at a time, up to 70 percent of pygmy marmosets’ births are to fraternal twins.

Photo by Malene Thyssen

  • yvonne cuevas

    what do they eat and whats their habbitat

  • Elizabeth Hutchins

    Pygmy Marmosets are so! cute. I want one myself.I DONT have enough money to get one.

  • juliana

    hello sir/madame/miss.
    i happen to have come across your ad were you needed a marmoset monkey. we presently have two marmosets a male and a female going out for adoption. if you are still interested, you contact us for more information and pictures of our marmosets.

  • Elise

    My goodness. I have wanted to get one for so long but I just don’t have the money to adopt one. I found a Lady who has triplets for adoption but the problem is I have to pay for shipping. They are great family members, I have researched them for awhile and I want one so bad. I just wish i could pay for shipping. Knowing that if i did i wouldn’t be able to buy stuff for the baby.

  • kathy

    i would love to get a marmoset pygmy. iv seen a pic of one a long time ago and always wanted one. it would be nice to have now that all my kids are married.

  • jamie

    i think they r just the cutest little things and have wanted one for about to years now and plan on getting one when im 18 thats why im doing my resurch now!!!!!!

  • dean

    how much do they cost i want to buy one

  • joel

    hi,
    just want to tell you that my wife and i do breed marmoset and pygmy marmosets 5 YEARS ago
    now we do have 2 commont marmosets available and 4 pygmy marmosets
    contact me : guy.joel7@gmail.com
    thank

  • Stephanie

    I think these so cute. How could you not love Pygmy monkeys. I want one but these to exspensive

  • T.J. Wollmershauser

    I’ve been looking for a pygmy marmoset to buy or to adopt. I’m having a hard time finding either one. Everytime a door opens another one shuts. Anyone out there have a clue where I might start to find a pygmy marmoset???

  • nikki benedict

    I think pygmy marmoset are soooo cute and I would love to have one.

  • katie

    i hate those things there soooo ugly! just joking there adorable. ;)

  • kerry

    im also looking for a pygmy marmoset to buy my only problem is my budget is £300 because i need to buy everything else it needs if anyone can help me please email me or call 07906401555 thanks

  • jessica hunt

    how do i get a pygmy marmoset and how much are htey becuae me and my family have been looking for one for a while but we just dont no where to get it from.

  • sam skinner

    there sick man

  • Sean

    Yvonne, you should look at this website to answer your questions. http://www.pygmymarmoset.net

  • Terry

    I am disgusted with the people who think it would be so great to own a Pygmy Marmoset. These are extremely enangered animals. Any primate as limited in habitat as these tiny creatures need the best and most expert care with a veterinary specialist available 24/7. They are more interested in having something cute tahn thewelfare of the animal. They shouldn’t be pet owners with their own gratification as their priority.

  • courtney

    you give a lot of facts

  • Tiffani

    what are there enemies

  • layla

    i want to get 1 too but too bad im too young to get 1

  • arlene

    i wish i got a baby pygmy marmoset 4 my birthday today=(

  • Bob

    I like pygmy marmosets bevause they are small

  • davina

    wher can you get one

  • hannah uhe

    yo, pymgys are cute but its creaul to keep them

  • scarlett

    Howdo they protect themselves?

  • babs

    So many people here don’t know how to spell. Educate yourself and learn there is more to life than “cute” and “I want.”

  • Bobo

    He He He Ha Ha Ha… their defense involves bouts of calling, chasing and displaying of their distinct white genitals. but they are funny and cute too

  • Kyle

    I don’t think the marmosets like to be in captivity at the zoo even they seem a little trapped in their rooms. They move so quickly and look around almost like hummingbirds they must feel constrained in small areas. They have really cool hands though – http://www.factzoo.com/mammals/monkeys/pygmy-marmosets.html I could see why they could be in the highest trees all the time.

  • chenoa

    is there any names that a male or female is called like cows as an exc bulls or males cows are females

  • Amber

    where can i get one??????? XD

  • TARA

    Heyy im doing an animal report on marmosets could anyone tell me who the author of this website so i can give them credit!!!!!

  • mareaaaa”

    aye is it nocturnal or what? hurry… i need to know by thursday

  • Allie

    I am doing research on the pygmy marmosets and I dont think they make very good pets for you all who are intrested. They have “tantrums” and can attack, which could be very hurtful with their claws.. It sleeps just like us Marea, just to answer your question.

  • Jordan

    so its not a good idea to get one? i really want like 2!

  • Allie

    Yes, defanitly not a good idea to get one…BAD IDEA. They attack, no matter how cute they are. I wanted one too until I found more information on it.

  • bunny:)

    hey people of the world !Pygmy Marmosets are so adorable !!!Im doin them for my science project!!:)Whoo hoo

  • PygmyMarmoset

    Check this website out please! – http://www.allaboutpygmymarmosets.webs.com

  • monderian

    i lov the thoses things their so cute i have 1 as a pet!

  • Seaneebonee Worthingtonk

    I LOVE THESE CUTE MONSTERS!!!!!!!

  • shauna

    aww there are so cute i wont one and theylooklikeitstwoanimalsputtogeth

  • ashira

    so i want one too. they are cute but i already have three babies and anyone who knows anything about monkeys of any kind would know that they are like babies and you have to care for them like you would your own baby. constant attention and feeding. i would suggest that anyone who wants one should consider if they have the time and means to care for such a tiny life. as Terry says you have to have a vety who can care for it and take it in for regular check ups. plus you really should keep it out of reach of children. they are too small and delicate for children to mess with them and would be easily squished. also if you have cats or dogs, well obviously you really shouldn’t have it around those kinds of animals if you don’t want the poor thing to be dinner.

  • Vernon

    I don’t care how cute these creatures are…they are still wild animals, not domesticated, and should NEVER be purchased as pets. Inevitably, such animals prove to be more difficult to handle in a home environment and end up being cruelly abandoned. There are enough cute dogs and cats in the world that need loving homes.

  • Pygmy Owner

    I’de like to start off with, any and all animals were wild at some point. Including your precious dogs, cats, birds, chickens, lizards, etc. I’de also like to mention that the most common pets in house holds today use to be PREDATORS. It’ takes years, decades, even centuries to completely domesticate animals, but this doesn’t mean you can’t enoy them as pets as long as you take proper care of them. No, not every animal is viable for pet domestication, but I have only seen these negative posts from users that have never owned a Pygmy Marmoset, and would not know how loving they can be as opposed to their potential to be pesky.

    No these creatures are not on the endangered species list yet, however if you want to help save them do so by helping save their environment. Recycle paper products, and donate to the cause of saving their natural habitat.

    If you really want to own one, you must be aware of the time, patience, love, care, money, and maintenance these tiny little creatures cost. Avoiding or other wise neglecting any of these factors would be considered animal abuse, and you should not take on the responsibility of owning these adorable but fragile creatures if you are not prepared to do so.

    They are very social, andif you raise them correctly they will not bite or scratch you as often. Any person or creature has irritation, just as they do have their moody days. However if you raise your Pygmy Marmoset correctly, they won’t have bad attitudes and will grow to be loving and sweet. Yes, they are like children in the aspect that they are time consuming, and that you have to raise them to be nice. They do not like being confined to small places. I would not suggest you let them run about the house for MANY reasons, the first most being that you don’t want your marmoset hurting itself. If you are going to buy a cage, it should be rather large. Remember the small size of these Marmosets, and that they are monkies. To attribute to their intelligence, make sure the cage isn’t too easy to open, they like to monkey around ;)

    If you are worried about overly aggresive pets, just like most species I would suggest you get females. ( Unless you want to neuter your monkey through a specialist) This can save you from some of the more aggresive poo flinging days, open masturbation, and the territorial urination. Not saying they will completely stop flinging poo, but they only do this when they are highly irritated or frightened. If you don’t intend on breeding, the males will calm down more.

    Adult pygmy marmosets are comparatively easier to raise then children, but that doesn’t mean they are any less of a challenge. These are not like most dogs and cats that you can leave at home all day and expect them to be fine. However I won’t discourage anyone wanting to purchase, adopt, and take care of one of these beautiful loving creatures. Just take precautions, use common sense, and educate yourself on their habits before deciding whether they are right for your home.

  • chimp chump

    pygmy marmosets
    do not make good pets
    however they are the best
    they are not pests
    there is no protest

  • hannah scoggins

    awwwww! they’re soooo cute! i really want one, but i watched a national geographic thing about them and it said that they are really nice when they’re little, but when they get to be teenagers, they’re evil! like, i was watching and it showed how the monkey was braking vases and stuff on the table because he wanted people food, and wouldn’t accept fruit. he wanted fried chicken. it was sort’a funny and yet terrible at the same time. i knoe now never to get a pet monkey. they are for the wild only. having a pet fish isn’t that bad anyway (except that they don’t like being hugged very much, as my mom always says when i ask for a pet fish)!

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  • Jesica

    This was a very helpful site but I have yet to find the answer as to how much the pygmy marmoset actually costs ??

  • Summer

    I think all of you who are defending the trade of pygmy marmosets are cruel and disgusting. These small monkeys will soon become endangered due to the animal trade. they aren’t endangered yet but they are on the watch-list. These tiny creatures should be left alone in their own natural habitat. Sure, they are cute and nice and cuddly but they are a humongous job to take care of and can be really difficult. Domesticated or not. You have no regard for the generation coming to live in this world after you. you are leaving this world in a state of chaos and mess that won’t be your problem but the younger generation’s problem to solve. 100 Species become extinct EVERYDAY and now you want to further the trade of Pygmy Marmosets for your own selfish reasons?
    And when there are none left to see left in their own natural habitat what do you say? “oh it wasn’t my fault.” You people are disgusting and should give some thought to what you are doing. Just because something is available doesn’t mean you should have it. Leave the marmosets in their own environment where they are happy and unconfined and can be free to thrive as they please. These creatures don’t like to be separated from their families as much as you don’t want to be separated from yours. imagine a stranger taking you away from the home you know and love and holding you captive in some alien place that isn’t anything like the environment you are used to and love. These are living things just as you are. think about it . Stop the trade of pygmy marmosets as pets. stop trying to justify it. it’s wrong.

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  • fang

    Hey people should know that because their is a market for the marmoset that people won’t let them become extinct. It actually helps them from becoming an endangered species. They sell for about $1000.00 or $300.00 to adopted. Most species go endangered from lose of habitat or hunting . I watched a show and in the united state’s has farms in texas set up to hunt big game from africa which has saved the animals from extinction and some people would rather see the animal extinct then have one hunted to save nine other ones.

  • Jess

    I have been researching the required factors for owning a pygmy marmoset. I found it funny that the diet listed on a few sites for the them was very similar to my diet except I’m not a fan of bananas.I also saw the mentioned sweet as infants then during their teens seem to become more aggressive and throw tantrums, but it sounds like most children to me and like my 22 year old brother and if you think about it any person in the world has moments where they throw a tantrum of some kind (seems less offensive because large versus same actions on small animals).
    Terry : Many people do all the needed research to raise the pygmy marmosets, I would also like to mention that people find breeders to buy the marmosets from and do not catch them in the wild. Also as another person mention they are not currently endangered.
    Allie : Your description as I mentioned in my message sounds like any kid and most people and would like to mention that I have brought home a number of wildlife as a child and tried to convince my parents to let me keep it including a baby moose who actually just followed me to my door and attempted to come inside. This summer there were a large amount of baby brown bears in open areas and I was able to approach them and even pet them till my cousin pulled me to the car, but their mother didn’t even mind (I saw her hiding in the trees).
    Verron : AT one point the common pets of households today were wild animals and were actually very very aggressive and large enough to actually kill a human, these I speak of are cats and dogs. There are even people that have wolves (actual wild wolves) as pets . Any animal can be a pet. I had black widows and a rattle snack when I was 5 and 6 years old until my mother found them hidden under my bed … knew that she wouldn’t let me keep them but my dad just laughed at it.

    I also am a biochemist and geneticist and for all you who think having a pygmy marmoset as a pet should look at the fact that their behaviors are very similar to those of people, we even call in others to attack our enemies just like the marmoset does and as I had mentioned even have very similar eating habits, and if you lived in the rain forest you would eat a lot more fruit and even find a way to eat the tree sap to obtain your needed nutrients. They also have many of the same basic genes as the general human does, though they are new to the world like humans are they more then likely evolved from the same initial line.

  • Bob

    It doesn’t matter what people are saying on here. They ARE capable of domestication. Although some of these people think they are wild animals and not a good idea to have as pets just want attention as an “expert”. They don’t know what they are talking about.

    These animals are loving and can VERY MUCH be domesticated. Being a botanist or biochemist or a geneticist, or a zookeeper doesn’t qualify these people for anything. Someone named “Summer” said it’s cruel to own them. First, your name is that of a season. That’s not a name, your parents were cruel for naming you that, I’m sorry. Second, you could not be more wrong. The love a (”normal”) dog owner has for their pet – it’s the same thing here.

    If you know how to take care of and train a dog, you can own one of these (recommended you get two, they are social animals). The problem is that two will cost you roughly $5,000, so it’s a price range beyond the average person when it comes to a pet budget.

    This animal is not threatened, it is currently classified as LC (Least Concerned), but the killing of the rainforest is not helping their numbers.

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