Facts About Marmosets’ Social Development & Environment


The mother of a marmoset or tamarin typically gives birth to a set of twins, and the father and other members of the group take care of the young by carrying them, possibly sharing food with them, and possibly keeping an eye out for potential dangers (e.g. Buchanan-Smith, 1984; Price, 1992; Rylands, 1985; Cleveland & Snowdon, 1984). It has been shown in a large number of studies that parents who are separated from their children before they have gained experience in caring for young children are at a significantly reduced risk of going on to have children of their own (S. fuscicollis, Epple, 1978; L. rosalia, Hoage, 1977; S. oedipus, Cleveland & Snowdon, 1984, Snowdon, Savage & McConnell, 1985, Tardif, Richter & Carson, 1984a, 1984b). It is recommended that marmosets and tamarins should have experience with at least two sets of rearing episodes; otherwise, they will not make good parents themselves. [Citation needed] (Snowdon & Savage, 1989). This is true for both sons and daughters because both mothers and fathers take care of their children when they are young. It is my understanding that the majority of keepers of marmosets and tamarins do permit this, but that there are still some laboratories that remove individuals from the group before they have had this experience. This could be done for the purpose of testing, or it could be done because the cage is too small to house a larger number of monkeys. Once one begins engaging in this pattern of behavior, it can be challenging to break free of it on one’s own.

There are workarounds available in the event that it is not feasible to house marmosets and tamarins in large family groups, which would allow for the animals’ healthy social development as well as participation in a variety of social activities, including allogrooming, the care of young, and, in the case of some species, the sharing of food. If you give monkeys the opportunity to watch other animals, you might improve their quality of life. However, the monkeys might find it stressful to be in constant close visual contact and proximity with other monkeys. A clever way to get around this is to provide the monkeys with the opportunity to peek through a small hole at the other group that is nearby. A recent study on cotton-top tamarins (S. oedipus) found that when a small peephole was made (initially by accident), group members were eager to use it to observe their neighbors. This was found to be the case even though the peephole was made accidentally (Moore, Cleland & McGrew, 1991). Their neighbors were unaware that they were being watched, and as a result, it is highly unlikely that this had any negative effects on them.

Keeping marmosets and tamarins together in the same exhibit is another way to ensure that they have access to a diverse social environment (Xanten, 1990). Not only is it more likely that mixed exhibits will be successful, but it also provides a more realistic zoographic enclosure that has greater educational value. If mixed exhibits are to be set up, my personal opinion is that they should be between species that are sympatric in the wild. Tamarins frequently form long-lasting mixed associations with other tamarins, like the saddle-backed and red-bellied tamarins that I observed and studied in Bolivia. These two species spent 85 percent of their time within 50 meters of each other and often much closer, and the associations that they formed were long lasting and stable in the sense that each mixed species group shared a common territory, which they jointly defended against other mixed species troops in the surrounding area (Buchanan-Smith, 1990). In addition to stable associations with emperor tamarins (S. imperator, Terborgh, 1983), moustached tamarins (e.g., S. mystax, Garber, 1988), and black mantle tamarins, saddle-backed tamarins also form associations with other species of tamarins (S. nigricollis, Hernandez-Camacho & Cooper, 1976). At the Belfast Zoological Gardens in Northern Ireland, we have recently been successful in establishing mixed groups of red-bellied tamarins and saddle-backed tamarins. Additional information can be found in the article titled “Mixed species Saguinus groups at Belfast Zoological Gardens” which was written by S.M. Hardie, R.T. Day, and H.M. Buchanan-Smith (1993).

   😍 These are must-have items such as small animal cages, cage accessory and food for Finger Monkey pet owners, maybe you need them too? Click images & check them out!

 🥰 This large double unit cage has three ramps, ramp covers, and two resting shelves. It is easier to clean the cage interior with removable base pans and double doors. Click the link to see different story options for your pet.

🥰 For the finger monkey diet, you can feed them these fresh unsalted cashews. As much as I enjoy these good-quality cashews, my finger monkey pet does too. Check out if your pet will like it too.

🥰 These cage accessories go with the large double unit cage! They are shelf, pan and ramp covers that are easily removable and washable in the machine. Click the link to check their color options.

 🥰 This dried sweet tamarind is convenient as it comes without the shell and seed. It is also natural and fresh! Check out the reviews to see if you want to feed your finger monkey this fruit rich in magnesium and calcium.

 🥰 This small animal playpen is perfect for your finger monkey pet to be closer to nature. It has space to put treats, litter box and more. Click to see the video.


🥰 This Maize Flakes Cereal is organic and healthy with ingredients from sprouted oatmeal, which is high in protein. This is perfect for your finger monkey’s diet! Click the link to see other cereal options.

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