A Tiny Mammal

About Pygmy Marmosets

The Pygmy Marmoset is the smallest monkey in the world. The adults grow to be just over 100 grams and 13-15 centimetres long. The females a slightly heavier than the males. They are very friendly but have small teeth that can be sharp. Most Pygmy Marmosets have brown or black fur, sometimes also with yellow specks. They have black or brown eyes and their noses and mouths are very small. Their tail is large in comparison to their body. Pygmy Marmosets are extremely cute!


The Pygmy Marmoset lives in rain forests in Amazon basin in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (pictured, below). They usually stay in trees.


Pygmy Marmosets build nests inside their territories, on the small high branches of trees, up high so it is hard for predators to attack them. They also hide in foliage and bushes.

Biological Relationships

Pygmy Marmosets are active and can be very competitive with each other. Sometimes they play fight and conflict over food, but most of the time they are known to be quite a friendly monkey. They live in groups of 2 to 6 and usually find a mate for life. Infants usually live with their parents as part of the extended family for up to two birth cycles after they are born. The female mother of the group gets to eat first every day, because she is the one who usually finds the food. Then the male and young monkeys get to eat. This is different to most other monkeys, where the dominant male is usually the first one to eat.  

Life Cycle

Most Pygmy Marmoset pregnancies have two or more babies .When an infant is born, its father keeps it on his back and protects it while the mum goes out and gets food. The mum feeds the baby her milk, and then when it is older it eats the food she has found.  The babies are also taken care of by their older siblings. Pygmy Marmosets can stay in their family's group, living with them in their nests in trees until they are up to a year old. When they are fully mature, they leave and find a mate and join another group. They then mate and fall pregnant. Their pregnancies last 119-142 days. Pygmy Marmoset's life expectancy is about 12 years.

Food Chain

The monkey’s diet is mainly a special gum tree sap. The monkey has long lower incisor teeth and claws that help them dig into the tree and extract the sap. The monkeys also wait for insects to come to the tree’s sap and fruit, and then they eat the insects. The Pygmy Marmoset's predators are eagles, cats and snakes. They are sometimes also captured by humans for pets. They are not an endangered species.


The Pygmy Marmoset lives in the rain forests of the Amazon basin in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

Interesting facts!

Did you know...

- Pygmy Marmosets communicate with high pitched noises and are less aggressive than other monkeys!

- In Australia we can only see them in zoos, but in other countries such as the United States and some parts of Asia, you can have them as pets!

- Their scientific name is Callithrix Pygmaea. 'Callithrix' means 'beautiful fur' in ancient Greek.

Website by Ava Sharp 2013

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