Finger Monkey

Pygmy marmosets

Describe the animal

Pygmy marmosets/finger monkeys are the world's tiniest true monkeys. A fully grown finger monkey grows to a maximum 6 inches in length (excluding the tail)!The average lifespan is 12-16 years; however, it goes up to 20 - 22 years in captivity, and some have been known to have lived up to 25 years. An adult finger monkey has a furry body, generally tawny colored with black flecks. Its underbelly is either cream or white in color. This primate sports a lion mane-like fur around it head (that’s why they are also called “tiny lion”) Their eyes are also almond-shaped.

How is it born? How does the mother care for it’s young?

A female finger monkey can give birth every 5 months. Usually, the breeding female gives birth to twins and sometimes, to single babies and even triplets and quadruplets, after around 135 days gestation. The father finger monkey looks after the offspring for a couple of weeks after birth; and is ably supported by the older offspring in the group.

How does it get its food? What does it eat?

In forests, the monkey regularly gouge oval-shaped one-inch holes in tree bark; then it feeds on tree gum of usually 1 or 2 trees, with their entire group. When the trees become depleted the group moves on to the new trees. Arachnids and insects also serve as foods for the finger monkey, and they occasionally eat fruits.

Where does it live, and what are some of its habits?

This species inhabits upper Amazonia in South America, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil. It prefers riverside and floodplain forests.

They are highly social animals, and are monogamous. Within their group they communicate by body language, scent marking, making high-pitched sounds, and grooming each other.

Who are it’s enemies, and how does it defend itself?

The finger monkey is vulnerable to cats, snakes and birds of prey. When threatened, finger monkeys resort to either vocalizing, chasing or keeping still, till the danger passes off.