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Cotton-Top Tamarin

Cotton-Top Tamarin
(Saguinus oedipus)

Aptly named for the tuft of white hair on its head, the cotton-top tamarin is only found in the wild in northwestern Colombia. The cotton-top tamarin can survive in both Colombia's dry thorn forests and wet tropical forests, where it maintains a steady diet of fruits and insects.

The tamarin weighs only 400-700 grams (about 1-.1.5 pounds). Its body and tail (the tail is used to balance during climbing and jumping) measures in total about 46 centimeters (18 inches).

While only one female in a troop gives birth, all of the tamarins care for the infants, in a system where parental care is learned rather than instinctive. Before the species was declared endangered and banned from exportation in 1973, the cotton-top tamarin was threatened by its heavy use in biomedical research. Now its biggest threats are deforestation, and its popularity in the local Colombian pet trade.

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