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Tiny Wonders: The World’s Smallest Monkey

Indigenous to the rainforest canopies of western Brazil, southeastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, and northern Bolivia, the world’s smallest monkey goes by the name of Pygmy Marmoset, which translates from the French word meaning shrimp or dwarf. One of the smallest primates in the world, these creatures range in size from 5 to 6 inches, not including the tail which by itself is longer than the monkey, stretching for an amazing 6-8 inches.

The smallest true monkey goes by several nicknames. Some include: mono de bolsillo (pocket monkey), and leoncito (little lion). Their life span varies, as animals in the wlld live 11to12 years but in zoos, they often survive into their early twenties.

The pygmy marmoset communicates chemically, vocally and physically. A sharp warning whistle and a clicking sound is a signal for danger and a trill is used to communicate over long distance. These creatures are social animals and live in groups composed of two adults and their offspring, which usually consists of 2to 6 babies. The young marmosets remain with the group until after two consecutive birth cycles.

In the wild, size works in favor of the tiny primate, as this monkey is so small that it can effectively hide from its predators within the leaves of trees. It clings to tree trunks easily via its sharp claws. It si also feisty and wards off intruders to its territory despite its diminutive size. The animal’s diet consists of about 80% tree byproducts such as gums and saps and 16% insects. Marmosets often have multiple births and twins are very common. Triplets and quadruplets happen less often but aren’t rare.

The world as well as monkeys appear to be getting smaller and smaller with each passing day as different species come to light and expand our dynamic horizons.

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