We live in a wild world. Today we’re visiting the jungles of South America to venture into the rain forest where the pygmy marmoset, also known as a finger monkey, lives. Let’s take a look at this cute little critter.
Pygmy Marmosets are the smallest monkeys in the world. They are 14 to 16 centimetres (5.5 to 6.3 in) length, with another 15-to-20-centimetre (5.9 to 7.9 in) for the tail. Males weigh around 140 grams (4.9 oz), and females only 120 grams (4.2 oz) – about the weight of an apple. Their fur is almost feathery in appearance and can range from black, brown, white, grey to tan in colour. They have long tails, small ears and 5 digits on each paw; however, unlike some monkeys, they lack a “true” thumb.
Wild World Fact… pygmy marmosets can jump more than 16 ft (5 m). Quite a distance for such a small monkey!
Give ‘Em the Gum
If you read a food label you may discover the pygmy marmoset’s favorite food – gum arabic. This is found in the acacia tree in it’s rawest form. The finger monkey will spend hours gouging holes in the tree’s trunk and branches to create a steady flow of the sap to lick from.
Wild World Fact…this monkey also enjoys eating fruit, nectar, spiders and insects.
Even though finger monkey’s are small they have a mighty call. They communicate by making high pitched squeaks, whistles, clicks and trills. In fact some of their calls are so loud it can’t be heard by the human ear.
Along with noise, the pygmy marmoset also communicates with facial expressions and body posture. To defend it’s territory the male monkey will flatten his ears, raise the hair on his head and chase the intruder away from his troop.
Wild World Fact…male pygmy marmoset’s will also pull back the corners of their mouths back in a grimace when defending their territory.
Finger Monkey Babies
The pygmy marmoset mom gives birth to two babies (twins) or sometimes three. She does this twice a year. Once the babies are born, mom marmoset will care for them along with the father. When the babies are two months of age they are grown enough to be away from their parents. At six months old the young are considered full grown, but may stay with the family unit until they find a mate and start their own troop.
Wild World Fact…Pygmy marmosets form small groups of up to 15 individuals. This group is called a Troop.
For more information on the finger monkey check out your local library, the Internet or a zoo.