Pygmy marmoset

Extremely agile and flexible creatures, they could leap up to 4.57m (15 ft) vertically and rotate their head for up to 180 degrees

Malene Thyssen

Pygmy marmoset


Extremely agile and flexible creatures, they could leap up to 4.57m (15 ft) vertically and rotate their head for up to 180 degrees

Population 2,500
>30% decline over the last three generations

Residing in the dense rainforests of South America, this diminutive primate captivates the imagination with its tiny stature, fitting comfortably in a human hand. Cloaked in soft brown fur and equipped with a squirrel-like tail that exceeds the length of its body, the Pygmy Marmoset has adapted masterfully to life in the treetops. This tail is not just an appendage but a critical tool for balance, enabling these agile creatures to navigate the complex arboreal landscape with precision and grace.

In behavior, the Pygmy Marmoset exhibits traits reminiscent of a squirrel, using the dense foliage as both shelter and camouflage. They adeptly hide behind branches and tree trunks, and when sensing danger, they often freeze, blending into their surroundings to evade predators. Their activity patterns are primarily dictated by the ambient temperature, with these primates choosing the cooler mornings and late afternoons for foraging and exploration, avoiding the midday heat.

The dietary habits of the Pygmy Marmoset are as fascinating as their physical attributes. While their diet encompasses a variety of fruits, nectar, insects, and leaves, they show a particular predilection for tree sap or gum. This preference has led to the development of specialized teeth, enabling them to gouge holes in tree bark to access the sap—a primary food source rich in carbohydrates and essential nutrients. This unique feeding strategy underscores the Pygmy Marmoset’s role in the ecosystem, highlighting the intricate relationships between species and their environment.

Despite their small size, Pygmy Marmosets have a complex social structure, living in groups that emphasize strong familial bonds. Communication within these groups is sophisticated, involving a repertoire of vocalizations, facial expressions, and body language, which facilitates cohesion and cooperation in daily activities.


Population est.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size)/ Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Troop

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No