Facts About Marmoset MonkeysMarmosets are broadly classified into four genera - Atlantic Marmosets, Pygmy Marmosets, Amazonian Marmosets and Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmosets.
The Atlantic marmoset genus is further classified into six species (common marmoset, Wied's marmoset Also know as Wied's black tufted ear marmoset. , buffy-headed marmoset, buffy-tufted marmoset, black-tufted marmoset and white-headed marmoset) and the Amazonian marmoset genus is further classified into fourteen species (Rondon's marmoset, Rio Acari marmoset, Satéré marmoset, Manicore marmoset, Hershkovitz's marmoset, Silvery marmoset, gold-and-white marmoset, white marmoset, Maués marmoset, Emilia's marmoset, Santarem marmoset, black-headed marmoset, black-tailed marmoset and Marca's marmoset) while the Roosmalens' Dwarf Marmoset genus and the Pygmy Marmoset genus have one species each (with same names as their respective genus).
The habitats of marmosets are located in the deep interiors of dense forests. However, sometimes, they can also be seen on the edges of the forests or in open meadows but that is rare and happens only when they stray to such places in search of food or for their own amusement.
Marmosets are omnivorous - their natural diet consists of fruits, leaves, tree sap, plant resins, insects, bird eggs (stolen from nests), spiders and smaller vertebrates.
They are especially fond of tree gums and, can be seen indulging in gnawing trunks of resin producing trees a lot.
Marmosets are primarily diurnal and they can be found actively hunting for food and indulging in social activities with their troop members during the daytime.
Male marmosets reach sexual maturity one year after birth while females may become sexually active on becoming 20-24 months old. Marmosets are mostly monogamous and females give birth to twins after gestation, though triplets and quadruplets are also not uncommon.
In their natural, wild surroundings, the lifespan of marmosets is known to be about 10 years on an average. In captivity, marmosets are known to have lived for as long as 16 years.
Keeping a marmoset as a pet involves a lot of care and attention as these primates are highly susceptible to catch human infections from their owners. Also, marmosets kept in captivity often show aggression towards people other than the owner or the most dominant member of its human family.
The most important aspect of marmoset care, other than paying attention to its feeding, lodging and hygiene needs, is to make sure it is never kept isolated.
These are extremely social animals and isolation drives them to exhibit signs of depression, irritability and aggression.
In a typical marmoset society, the responsibility of youngsters is shared by the father and other group members. Things like carrying, sharing food, looking out for predators and keeping an eye on the young marmosets is taken care of by various members of a troop of marmosets.
This system is known as cooperative rearing where the mother, after giving birth to twins (which is the usual marmoset birth scenario), is not the only one to take care of them.
One of the most peculiar things about marmoset breeding is that there can be only one dominant female in a given breeding season and for that season, she alone can ovulate and mate.
The dominant female even prevents other females from ovulating that season by engaging in intimidating behavior such as poking, staring and dominating and, also, by releasing pheromones in huge quantities.
Those were some very interesting facts about marmosets. When in the wild, these tiny primates maintain a highly intricate and close-knit social structure. Food is often shared cooperatively and some playful theft of food is also tolerated with good humour.
Each group is very particular about its territory and the boundaries are marked by scent. Before taking your leave, I would also like to share another interesting fact about the marmoset - the Pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey in the entire world!
How to Take Care of a Pet Marmoset?
Marmoset monkeys are cute to the eye and are really adorable and docile in appearance. However, these little creatures are not that easy to handle and are highly demanding pets.
Those who still want to transform these creatures into household pets need to be prepared to meet all their needs. Marmoset monkeys require one's time, attention and financial support (not to mention all the training required). These creatures will depend on you for every need. Do not live in the bubble that they will one day become self-sufficient. Moreover, since these animals can live up to 20 years, one is making a long-term commitment to take care of the primate.
These animals do not like to be left on their own or unsupervised. They are social animals and require emotional support. In the wild they live in groups, so it would be unfair to keep them alone in a cage. If left alone for too long, they will end up becoming ill-mannered and destructive pets. Either you get a mate for the marmoset or give it a large portion of your time. Nevertheless, this does not mean you don't need to pay attention to it after bringing home a mate.
Emotionally neglected marmosets often end up developing the habit of biting, throwing tantrums and fits, all of which are very unpleasant habits. They will even pull their hair, slap and scratch themselves to gain one's attention. Marmosets are not mean animals, they have personalities of their own, and are attention-seeking creatures. Since they have a wide range of vocalizations, high pitched screams are quite common. The screams get shriller and louder if they are irritated. This can be extremely embarrassing if you have guests visiting.
Baby marmosets when bottle-fed are quite lovable, however, their entrance into sexual maturity makes them quite aggressive and unpredictable. They reach maturity in about 18-24 months and can even end up being dangerous to the owners. They react more like human teenagers and have strong instincts and urges. They need constant mental stimulation, thus, if one cannot devote 90% of the animal's waking hours to the pet, then this animal is not the suitable pet.
Marmosets as pets require a large cage embedded with scores of toys, towels, hammocks, plants and tunnels to go through. Toys are essential, because marmosets love to play and this keeps them occupied throughout the day. The cage has to be regularly cleaned and needs to be provided with a heating source (250-watt bulb heating lamp or infrared lamp).
As far as the cage size goes, the larger the better for the marmoset. Nevertheless, if it's a small cage, one needs to ensure the marmoset gets enough time outside the cage to exercise and stretch.
Marmosets can catch common colds easily and can even be affected by diseases like measles, chickenpox, cold sores and even HIV. In fact, marmosets can contract any disease that affects us humans. Thus, one has to be extremely careful to avoid cross contamination. Marshmallow treats can be given to marmosets to entice them into cooperating with the medication.
As far as the Marmoset's diet is concerned, they need to be given a rotating diet, rich in Vitamin C and D3. Canned marmoset food and biscuits are available, however, since these monkeys get bored of the same food, they need to be given fresh fruits, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cooked fish and white meat, baby cereal, whole grains like pasta, rice, etc. Marmosets also relish small insects like mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, etc. Give them such insects twice a week. This will keep them busy!
Marmosets are social animals and should live among their own kind. It's not a very good idea to keep them in a cage at home. If you do bring one home, make sure you spend a lot of time with him or her and give lots of love!