Emperor Tamarin

Perhaps one of the most amusing looking monkeys, Emperor Tamarin, can be seen jumping from one branch to another in the great forests of the Amazon Basin. Although only about 25 cm long and half a kilo heavy, they manage to hold parts of the great forests as their own.

It’s name, first as a joke, was derived from the monkey’s striking resemblance to the German emperor Wilhelm II. Oddly enough, the scientific name of the monkey also was influenced by  the monkey’s emperor-like appearance. Their droopy white mustache contrasts with their dark coats, giving them a very unusual look.

Emperor Tamarin's resemblance to Emperor Wilhelm
Emperor Tamarin's resemblance to Emperor Wilhelm

These little mammals spend their day in constant movement, using their agility and speed to gather plants, fruit and small insects, which are often out of reach for bigger monkeys. Emperor Tamarin is a very volatile creature, a hard prey for a predator, because of his ability to quickly maneuver through the thick jungle.

As most monkeys, Emperor Tamarins live in groups of two to eight monkeys, lead by a dominant female. The bonds in these packs are very strong and also when tamed, these monkeys show great affection to humans they are in contact with. They spend all their life cooperating with their group members, gathering food, sleeping and protecting their territory together

When  one and a half a year of their twenty-year life has passed, the Emperor Tamarins become sexually mature. In groups, reproduction is usually the responsibility of the oldest female and the two oldest males. Gestation period is around 140 days and after birth, all the members of the group aid the mother, carrying the baby on their backs and taking care of him, which again shows a great sense of unity.

Even newborn Emperor Tamarins have a white mustache
Even newborn Emperor Tamarins have a white mustache

These adorable monkeys are considered to be great pets because of their playful and affectionate nature and they don’t seem to mind captivity at all. If taken care of, Emperor Tamarins can be very joyful pets.

Emperor Tamarins are not endangered, although their actual number is currently unknown. In Brazil and Peru, they’re considered threatened, while IUCN classifies their status as undetermined. Their biggest threat is logging of the Amazon Basin forests, as their natural habitat is destroyed. However, the number of these monkeys is not reaching critical anytime soon.

These amusing mammals, although only the size of a squirrel, are one of the nature’s happiest and most playful creatures. Next time you walk in the Amazon jungle and hear a bird, look at the trees – it might not be a bird, but the tiny voice of Emperor Tamarin.


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