The Life and Times of Opie the Goeldi’s Monkey

Written by Amy Berting & Nathan Fox

Opie and Peach pose for a picture!

Once upon a time at the Houston Zoo, there was a boy Goeldi’s monkey named Andy, and he met this beautiful girl Goeldi’s monkey named Peach. They quickly became inseparable, and through hard times and good times they were the ideal couple. They had so many adventures at the zoo and met so many other primates, but decided it was finally time to settle down. Their love brought them the greatest joy of their lives, their son Opie.

Goeldi’s monkeys (Callimico goeldii) are small primates found in the forests of northern South America. They live in small family groups, mostly consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring. After a gestation period of approximately 5 months, the female will give birth to a single offspring. Our breeding pair, Peach and Andy, arrived here at the zoo in April of 2012. After 2 unsuccessful pregnancies, Peach finally gave birth to a healthy male named Opie on November 10, 2014! Due to Peach being a first time mother, keepers kept a close eye on the new family to make sure that Opie was nursing and clinging well to Peach’s back. An infant Goeldi’s will typically ride on its mother’s back for one month, and  after that, the father will take turns carrying the baby. Andy was first seen showing interest in Opie when he was about 6 days old. Keepers saw Andy grooming Peach and then grooming Opie’s face.


When Opie was one month old, keepers saw him get off Peach’s back for the first time and then a few days later, Opie was seen riding on Andy’s back for the first time. These days, Opie is very independent and only occasionally clings to his parents. He can typically be seen running around and exploring the exhibit on his own. During feeding times, he likes to run over to his parents and steal food out of their hands. However, they normally don’t mind sharing. As with most monkeys, Opie’s favorite foods include bananas, grapes, figs, and currants.  He has also started coming up to his zookeepers for treats, handed over carefully through the mesh. He is even mastering the vocalizations his parents have taught him and can be heard all over the Wortham World of Primates.

Opie is a wonderful addition to the primate family of the Houston Zoo and he continues to grow and discover his world.  Every day is new with  obstacles that he crashes through bravely. He brings joy to keepers and guests alike …. and they all continue to live happily ever after.

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