We have a new addition to our growing family of pygmy marmosets. A baby was born on July 27 here in the Natural Encounters building at the zoo. Baby was born behind the scenes, but now you can see it in the indoor Rainforest area with its family. We don’t know yet if it’s a boy or a girl.
This is not the first baby for mom Oko and dad Per, and three older brothers and one older sister are all helping to care for the baby. Pygmy marmoset babies are more likely to ride on dad’s or a brother’s back than a female, though everyone takes a turn. The brothers’ names are Macchu. Alejandro and Thrix, and big sister is Calli. Another older sister is already full grown and gone off to another zoo to meet her mate. Before Oko, Per was paired with another female, Mia, and they had babies here as well.
Pygmy marmosets typically give birth to two babies, though a ‘singlet’ is not unusual at all. Single pygmy babies are typically larger than pairs, and “This one is huge!” according to Senior Keeper Abby Varela. “We weighed it on Wednesday and it’s already 36 grams!” Our vets are careful not to disturb the bond between parent and child; instead of weighing the baby separately, they weigh baby as it’s clinging to dad’s back, then weigh dad separately and subtract. Dad is a strapping 140 grams by comparison.
Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest true monkeys, typically only about five inches long (not including their long tails). In the wild they live in the rainforests of the Amazon basin of South America. Though they are not currently classified as endangered, their populations in the wild are threatened by habitat loss in some areas as well as the pet trade. That’s why they are part of the Species Survival Plan.