Pygmy marmoset

Cebuella pygmaea
Pygmy marmoset
60 000-75 000 rub.

Pygmy marmoset(Cebuella pygmaea)

Class — mammalia
Order — primates
Family — callitrichidae

Genus –cebuella


The Pygmy marmoset is one of the world's smallest primates, being the smallest true monkey, with a head-body length ranging from 117 to 152 mm (4.6 to 6.0 in) and a tail of 172 to 229 mm (6.8 to 9.0 in). The average adult body weight is just over 100 grams (3.5 oz) with the only sexual dimorphism of females being a little heavier.

The fur color is a mixture of brownish-gold, grey, and black on its back and head and yellow, orange, and tawny on its underparts. Its tail has black rings and its face has flecks of white on its cheeks and a white vertical line between its eyes.


The Pygmy marmoset can be found in much of the western Amazon Basin, in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.


Groups of Pygmy marmosets range in size from two to nine individuals, but average group size is five. Solitarily ranging individuals of both sexes are also seen. Most troops are composed of one dominant, reproductive female, a reproductive male, and the offspring from one to four litters. Groups may also contain additional adult males or females that are unrelated to the reproductive female, but neither reproduce. The reproductive female is dominant over all group members, the breeding male is dominant over all males in the group, and, among the offspring, the older siblings are dominant over the younger siblings except for dependent infants, that are not part of the dominance hierarchy. Dominance can be assessed by which animals displace others at gum feeding sites; dominant animals supplant subordinate individuals.

Daily social behaviors observed among Pygmy marmosets include grooming, huddling, and play. Grooming is seen during resting bouts throughout the day and while subadult females groom the dominant female more than vice versa, patterns of grooming between opposite sexes are not discernible. Huddling is another social activity among Pygmy marmosets in which group members remain in close contact during rest. Play is seen mostly among the subadults, juveniles, and infants and can be either solitary or social. Social play is usually chasing or rough-and-tumble play within groups of two or three individuals. Young Pygmy marmosets play during resting bouts in the late morning and early afternoon.

Group size fluctuates as subadult males and females disperse from their natal groups or unrelated adult males and females emigrate from the group. Subadults become peripheralized over a gradual period of time, being ousted from their group's primary exudate tree and forced to feed in other areas. During this time period, if the subadult tries to feed in the primary tree, their youngest siblings harass them and may displace them at feeding holes. As this process continues, subadults make increasingly longer forays from their natal group and being to emit calls in an effort to locate a mate. The dominant reproductive female may become intolerant and especially aggressive toward the end of her pregnancy and this may be a cue for the subadult Pygmy marmosets in the group to begin dispersing.


This monkey has a specialized diet of tree gum. It gnaws holes in the bark of appropriate trees and vines with its specialized dentition to elicit the production of gum. When the sap puddles up in the hole, it laps it up with its tongue. It also lies in wait for insects, especially butterflies, which are attracted to the sap holes. It supplements its diet with nectar and fruit.


A mother Pygmy marmoset's gestation period is about 4.5 months, and she can give birth every 5 to 7 months. She almost always has two babies, but in zoos, pygmy marmosets have had three or even four babies in one litter. Each newborn is about the size of a human thumb! The father helps deliver the babies, cleans them up, and then takes over their care. He carries the newborns piggyback style for their first two weeks, bringing them back to the mother to nurse. Older siblings may help, too. When they are a bit older, the babies hide while the rest of their family looks for food until they are strong enough to travel with the group.

Usually the young marmosets are weaned and can follow the troop by three months of age. It takes them about two years to grow as large as the adults. They may leave the troop at this point to start a family of their own, or they may stay to help raise the newest babies.

Pygmy marmosets can live to be 12 years old in the wild and up to 18 years in captivity.

In captivity

Marmoset monkeys are cute to the eye and are really adorable and docile in appearance. However, these little creatures are not that easy to handle and are highly demanding pets. Those who still want to transform these creatures into household pets need to be prepared to meet all their needs. Marmoset monkeys require one’s time, attention and financial support (not to mention all the training required).These creatures will depend on you for every need.  These animals do not like to be left on their own or unsupervised. They are social animals and require emotional support. In the wild they live in groups, so it would be unfair to keep them alone in a cage. If left alone for too long, they will end up becoming ill-mannered and destructive pets. Either you get a mate for the marmoset or give it a large portion of your time. Nevertheless, this does not mean you don’t need to pay attention to it after bringing home a mate.

Emotionally neglected marmosets often end up developing the habit of biting, throwing tantrums and fits. They will even pull their hair, slap and scratch themselves to gain one’s attention. Marmosets are not mean animals, they have personalities of their own, and are attention-seeking creatures. Since they have a wide range of vocalizations, high pitched screams are quite common. The screams get shriller and louder if they are irritated. extremely embarrassing if you have guests visiting.  Marmosets need extreme training and unless one has worked with animals, especially monkeys, training these little ones will prove quite difficult. Usually breeders end up hand-raising marmosets in order to produce better domesticated pets. Hand-raising marmosets is no child’s play. It’s a job that requires diligence and patience. However, no amount of hand-raising can domesticate these animals. Loving these animals and giving them one’s undue attention may help make them loving animals.

Marmosets are not very messy, however their urine does have a strong stench (especially the males). They tend to urinate quite often and will try to urinate on you from inside the cage. Marmosets mark their area by rubbing their perineum on various locations. However, with a lot of training, the marmosets can be taught to demarcate only specified areas with their urine.These animals are also observed to urinate on their paws, so as to give themselves better grip while climbing. Marmosets also have a particular scent of their own, which combined with their urine smells awful.

Marmosets as pets require a large cage embedded with scores of toys, towels, hammocks, plants and tunnels to go through. Toys are essential as they love to play and this keeps them busy throughout the day. The cage has to be regularly cleaned and needs to be provided with a heating source (250-watt bulb heating lamp or infrared lamp). As far as the cage size goes, the larger the better for the marmoset. If it’s a small cage, one needs to ensure the marmoset gets enough time outside the cage.

Marmosets can catch common colds easily and can even be affected by diseases like measles, chickenpox, cold sores and even HIV. In fact, marmosets can contract any disease that affects us humans. Thus, one has to be extremely careful to avoid cross contamination. Marshmallow treats can be given to marmosets to entice them into cooperating with the medication.

As far as the Marmoset’s diet is concerned, they need to be given a rotating diet, rich in Vitamin C and D3. Canned marmoset food and biscuits are available, however, since these monkeys get bored of the same food, they need to be given fresh fruits, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cooked fish and white meat, baby cereal, whole grains like pasta, rice, etc. They also relish small insects like mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, etc. Give them such insects twice a week. This will keep them busy.