Monday, January 11, 2010

Meet the Common Marmoset

We had a bit of a New Year's surprise at work: the addition of a common marmoset to our zoo!

His story is somewhat mysterious. Apparently someone called Animal Control to report a strange little animal hanging around their back yard. After he was captured they called us, thinking he was a red-handed tamarin. We do have two of those, and plenty of room for another, so arrangements were made to transfer him to us since no other zoos or animal trainers had reported him missing. In all probability he had been someone's pet and either escaped or was set loose. Whoever he lived with was probably breaking the law by keeping him, so it isn't too great of a shock that they didn't advertise the fact that he was gone.

As soon as he arrived it was clear that he is not a tamarin, red-handed or otherwise! Fortunately though, we do have an empty spot for him. Hopefully in the future we can get him a partner since primates seldom enjoy living alone even if they are friendly enough (as this guy is) to accept a level of human companionship.

In the wild common marmosets make their living in a very unusual way: they chew through tree bark to get at the sap hidden within. They also eat soft fruits, insects, and whatever else they can find.

Their dentition, though, is specialized for the tree-chewing (that's what the guy at the left is doing). In some parts of South America they are common enough to occur in city parks; it must be quite amusing to look up and see a tiny cockatiel-sized monkey busily chewing a hole in the tree you're sitting under.

Of course, judging by our new charge, I now know that the same thing could happen in Los Angeles.


  1. What a handsome creature, and what a blessing he wound up somewhere he can enjoy a full life and proper care.

  2. Thanks tatty! I think he is a rather lucky fellow. I gave myself heart palpitations thinking about the size of hawk we get passing through here this time of year. He would have barely been a morsel!

  3. Wow, what an anomaly. I'm not sure how I'd react to a little guy like that up in my trees.

  4. I wonder if they thought it was a gremlin at first, BaldyLocks?

  5. Very cute. I have never seen one of these. Guess I need to get out there to visit your zoo.

  6. He looks like a grandpa with the hair around his ears. I think he's cute. What a great addition.

  7. So cute! I am glad you were able to house him at the zoo. I hope you find him a mate :-)


  8. I had not seen one of these before. He's cute! What a way to find him, though!

  9. This reminded me of two videos I've seen! The first is a Johnny Carson clip

    the second is a entertaining video called the Marmoset song with really cute pictures
    and you have to watch till the end ;-)

  10. I used to volunteer in a wildlife animal hospital. We had a lot of bobcats come in that was pets and got grown. Glad this little guy was found. They do not make good pets. He is cute.

  11. What a great story! I found your blog through etsy forums and just wanted to say hi and that your blog is lovely! I'm in LA also and it will be fun reading about your adventures!

    have a beautiful week!

    xo, Katie


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