Friday, November 27, 2009


I saw this little guy on Larry King the other night. It was the TINIEST little monkey, with such a strangely human serious-looking little face. Jack Hanna was the guest, and the tamarin monkey was eating meal worms out of Jack Hanna's hand. The tamarin was grabbing the meal worms with its little hands and shoving them into his mouth and chewing. I just cannot explain how weird but cute it was.

Here's some more fun facts about the tamarin monkey:

The tamarins are any of the squirrel-sized New World monkeys from the family Callitrichidae, classified as the genus Saguinus. The closely related lion tamarins are in genus Leontopithecus.

Tamarin habitats range from southern Central America (Costa Rica) through middle South America (Amazon basin and north Bolivia, however not in the mountainous parts).

The various species of tamarins differ considerably according to their appearance, ranging from nearly all black through mixtures of black, brown and white. Many species typically have mustache-like facial hairs. Their body size ranges from 18 to 30 cm (plus a 25 to 44 cm long tail) and they weigh from 220 to 900 grams. Tamarins differ from marmosets primarily in the fact that the lower canine teeth are clearly longer than the incisors.

Tamarins are inhabitants of tropical rain forests and open forest areas. They are diurnal and arboreal, and run and jump quickly through the trees. Tamarins live together in groups of up to 40 members consisting of one or more families. More frequently, though, groups are composed of just three to nine members.

Tamarins are omnivores, eating fruits and other plant parts as well as spiders, insects, small vertebrates and bird eggs.

Gestation is typically 140 days, and births are normally twins. The father primarily cares for the young, bringing them to their mother to nurse. After approximately one month the young begin to eat solid food, although they aren't fully weaned for another two to three months. They reach full maturity in their second year.

In captivity, tamarins live to be 18 years old.


  1. When Lucy was 3 or 4 she had two imaginary friends named Louise and Louise George, and they were lion tamarins. I think she'd seen them at the Bronx Zoo (lion tamarins, not the imaginary friends).

  2. Wow! That's so inventive of her. I can understand why tamarins would capture her imagination, they are such weird cool little animals. I want to learn more about them. It looks like there are a bunch of different kinds of tamarins, too.