Wildlife Wednesday: Pygmy Marmoset

by alive Editorial

Wildlife Wednesday: Pygmy Marmoset

Let’s hear it for the pint-sized primate with a big personality! On this Wildlife Wednesday, we talk about the pygmy marmoset.

When we think of primates, we most often think of chimps, gorillas, or other sizeable creatures. But did you know that there’s another species so tiny that, no joke, its members could take a nap in the palm of your hand?

On this Wildlife Wednesday, we learn about the pygmy marmoset.


These palm-sized primates are found in South America—namely, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. They make their homes in the lower branches of second growth forests.


  • Weighing in at about 4 oz (113 g) and reaching an average size of 5 in (12 cm), pygmy marmosets hold the record of being the smallest primates in the world.
  • Despite their stunted stature, these little leapers can jump great distances—nearly 16 ft (5 m)!—in a single bound.
  • They’re also “exudativores,” so their diets rely heavily on gums and saps secreted by the trees they live in. About two-thirds of their diets consist of these tree-secretions, with bugs, flowers, nectars, leaves, and fruit making up the rest.
  • To get at the tree saps that make up most of their diet, pygmy marmosets gouge holes in the bark using their sharp incisors, a slow process that can take days—or even weeks—to do.

Why are they threatened?

Although the IUCN might list these tiny tree-huggers as “least concern,” research shows that their population is on a downward trend.

This trend is caused in part by many peoples’ desire to own these furry forest-dwellers. Other threats to their population include hunting and habitat loss.

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