Pygmy Marmoset Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Pygmy marmosets are very small monkeys. This lesson will teach you about pygmy marmosets, how big they are, where they live, what they like to eat, and some other cool facts about this tiny monkey.

What is a Pygmy Marmoset?

Imagine walking through a lush, green forest when you notice something moving high up in the trees. You never get a good look at it because it's so fast and good at hiding. Finally, you see a very small animal darting through the leaves. You've just seen a pygmy marmoset!

A pygmy (pronounced PIG-me) marmoset is a very small monkey with a long tail, fingernails that look like claws, and multicolored fur that is orange, black, and brown.

Pygmy marmoset
Pygmy marmoset

Their fur helps them blend in with their surroundings, making them hard to see. This is important because the biggest pygmy marmosets only grow to be a little more than 6 inches long and weigh about 3 to 5 ounces. That's about the same as 25 quarters.

And though pygmy marmosets are small, their tails are long and can grow to be as long as 9 inches. That's about the same size as a small bearded dragon lizard! That tail helps them balance as they zip through the trees, the way you stick your arms out when you're balancing on one leg.

Pygmy marmoset with long tail
Pygmy marmoset with long tail

Being fast and flexible is important when you are very small. Pygmy marmosets are good at leaping and zooming through the trees and can even rotate their head backward while their body is facing forward. This helps them see and stay away from animals like hawks, snakes, and cats that want to make a meal out of them.

Where do Pygmy Marmosets Live?

In the wild, pygmy marmosets live in the countries of Ecuador, northern Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru in South America. They live high up in the trees of rainforests near rivers and sometimes in bamboo groves.

Pygmy marmoset blending in to the trees
Pygmy marmoset blending in to the trees

Most primates, which include apes, monkeys, and even humans, have hands with opposable thumbs. You have them, too, and they help you grab things or climb trees. Pygmy marmosets don't have opposable thumbs, but their claw-like fingernails help them go up and down the trees like climbing experts.

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