The Tamarin


This species has a very surprising appearance. They are small, squirrel-like, warm-blooded monkeys. The tamarin’s fur color varies a lot. Some are golden while others might be black. Silky coats with brightly colored tufts of fur appear on this mammal. Their fur covers their whole body except for their face. This furball either has a white mustache or muzzle. Lion Tamarins have widened nostrils and really long hands. This small monkey’s thumbs can move side to side like human thumbs. These are called opposable thumbs. A tamarin’s hind legs are longer than the front legs for jumping long distances.The tails can be up to 17 inches long on this monkey. The tamarin weighs about one to two pounds.

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The tamarin lives in the tropical habitat of the rain forest. They are New World monkeys, which means this species is an inhabitant of South America.They can be found in the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. The Amazon Rain Forest is located in these countries. All but one type of tamarin, the Rufous Naped Tamarin, can be located in the Amazon. The Rufous Naped Tamarin lives in Central America. Tamarins in the Amazon live in the canopy layer of the rain forest. This species can be found sleeping in tree holes 10-30 meters of the ground. Sometimes this primate takes midday naps.The tamarin scent marks its territories. Territories range from 25-100 acres. Unfortunately, they’re their territories are shrinking due to deforestation to make room for crops.

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The prey of the tamarin is different from other mammals. They are frugivorous, insectivorous, and carnivorous. Some of the fruits this primate eats are oranges and bananas. Every seven years they can find food easily due to mast fruiting, where trees in a large area produce a lot of fruit at the same time. This New World monkey can also eat insects and spiders. Small snakes, lizards, tree frogs, and bird eggs can also be eaten by this primate. This species uses long, pointed claws to dig insects and other small animals out of tree bark. They spend part of their day looking for insects, insect eggs, and ticks in another tamarin’s fur. The rest of the day they spend looking for food. This monkey gets water and some insects from inside cup-shaped leaves on a plant called a bromeliad, which grows on trees. It is very uncommon that this tropical animal shares food with others outside their family group. Inside the group sharing does take place, like when juveniles playfully steal food from siblings or parents.
Golden headed lion tamarin eating.MOV

Friends and Enemies

Tamarins have as many enemies as friends. Some enemies include wild dogs and jungle cats. This primate can also be attacked by Harpy Eagles and hawks. Another enemy is the snake. This type of monkey moves quickly from tree to tree to avoid predators. This monkey can also use his coat for camouflage against the trees. Human beings are also enemies of this species. For instance people are cutting down the tamarin habitat. This primate also gets hit by cars on the roads being built through the forest. People are also cutting down trees for farming, agriculture, and housing. Due to this, the conservation status of the Golden Lion Tamarin is endangered. There are only about 400 left in the world.

Tamarins also have many friends in its territory. They are closely related to the species of the tiny marmoset. This New World monkey lives in groups up to 40 members and communicates by high pitched noises. Only one female tamarin mates at a time, but may mate with any male in that group. The female gives birth to non-identical twins. The babies cling on to the father’s back, while the mother feeds the babies every two to three hours. When the babies are six months old they start to take care of themselves.

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As you can see, the tamarin does have a very interesting appearance, habitat, prey, and friends and enemies. With your help, we might be able to save this monkey from extinction.


Braun, Eric, and Sandra Donovan. Tamarins. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 2002. Print.

"Leontopithecus Rosalia (golden Lion Tamarin)." Animal Diversity Web. Web. 19 Feb.


"Tamarin." Britannica School. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.


Tamarin. Wildlife and Plants of the World. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1999. Print.

Tamarin. World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: World Book, 1998. Print.