Some of the world’s smallest monkeys have been born at Chester Zoo… and they’re twins!
Chester Zoo have today announced the birth of “highly inquisitive” miniature twin monkeys which are usually native to South America.
The pair of eastern pygmy marmosets arrived to parents Zoe (3) and Baldrick (4) back on 7 September 2020, both measuring two inches tall and weighing 10 grams.
Keepers say it will take time until their genders are known since they are so small.
Holly Webb, a Primate Keeper at Chester Zoo, said: “It’s wonderful to see new additions within the marmoset family and it’s almost unbelievable just how small the babies are when they are first born. They are no bigger than a ping pong ball!
“Mum Zoe and dad Baldrick have jumped straight into parenthood. Zoe is ever so caring, and, unlike other primates, dad is heavily involved in the upbringing of the youngsters.
“Baldrick sensed that Zoe was ready to give birth and even put on a little extra weight to give him the energy to care for the twins.
“He’s really got stuck into the parenting – we spotted him carrying the babies around on his back when they were just one day old.
“New babies always strengthen family bonds and some of the younger primates in the group have also been carrying the new arrivals around.
“It’s great to see them learn and pick up parenting tips from Zoe and Baldrick, and that experience will be important if they one day go on to have young of their own.
“The fact that younger members of the family are trusted to carry around such delicate new-borns, builds a lot of trust within the group.
“The babies are already very inquisitive and aware of their surroundings. I can’t wait to see them develop their own little personalities.”
The eastern pygmy marmoset is native to the rainforests of western Brazil, south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru but are threatened by habitat loss as they are often exposed to hunting or capture for the illegal pet trade.
Dr Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals, said: “Many primate species around the world are highly threatened, often due to large-scale habitat destruction, hunting and the illegal wildlife trade.
“Sadly, this is very much the case for the eastern pygmy marmoset.
“Despite their tiny stature, pygmy marmosets make a lot of loud noises, especially when calling out to attract a mate or warning others of danger.
“Even though they are the world’s most miniature species of monkey, their whistles and squeals can be heard throughout the rainforest.
“Unfortunately, as their forest homes continue to disappear, this can be to their detriment, as a lack of cover leaves them even more exposed to illegal hunters and trappers.
“Thankfully, conservation teams are working hard to restore forest and create safe areas while new arrivals at the zoo help us to further highlight what needs to be done to prevent their extinction.”
Chester Zoo say the pygmy marmosets are social animals, have one mate for life, tails longer than their bodies and grow to around eight inches long, weighing 130g.
The word marmoset originates from the French word “marmouset” which means shrimp and their gestation period is around four-and-a-half months.
The species has a specialised diet which includes insects, fruit and tree sap. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com