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Cotton-top tamarin


Scientific Name: Saguinus oedipus

Order: Primates

Class: Mammal

Diet: Omnivore; fruit, insects, lizards, eggs, and sap

Lifespan: Up to 22 years in captivity

Range:  Tamarins are only found in the tropical forests of Colombia in South America.

Status in the Wild: Critically Endangered; Deforestation for agriculture, fuel, and housing is the greatest threat to their survival. More than 3/4 of its original habitat has been deforested, much of it for cattle pasture.  

Family Life: Cotton-top tamarins live in troops of 2-12 individuals in the wild. Most groups appear to be monogamous, with only one reproductively active male and female.  All members of the troop help to care for the young.

Nature Notes: All tamarins have claws instead of nails which they use for grasping and catching prey.  When they want to talk to each other they make a variety of sounds like chirps and whistles, which sound bird-like. Cotton-top tamarins are active during the day. At night they sleep huddled together with the youngest members tucked in the middle of the group. During the day cotton-top tamarins spend most of their time searching for food and grooming each other. Grooming is good for removing ticks and mites but it also helps to strengthen the bonds among animals in the troop. 

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