12 ESSENTIALS

12 ESSENTIALS OF BABY MARMOSET AND TAMARIN CARE

As an addition to my book, I compiled this short-list of the 12 most important issues to be aware of in raising a Marmoset or Tamarin. Keep it handy, put it on the fridge or whatever you need to do to get to know and remember these 12 things – and let it help you avoid the most common pitfalls so you and your little one can thrive and have a healthy happy life together- Kimberly Gunn

1. Aspiration

When bottle feeding lean the baby slightly forward so any excess feed drains from the mouth. Never feed with the head backwards. make sure there isn’t feed or other blockages on the nose.. if so wipe clean first. if the baby starts to choke and tries to breathe with feed on the nose, they will suck it into the lungs and aspirate.. this can be deadly. . Feed slowly and keep the tip of the syringe below the nose, pausing to make sure baby can breathe well.. Feeding too slowly is infinitely safer than an aspirating monkey..
ALWAYS check the feed for temperature on your wrist.. aiming for approximately body temperature, cooler is safer than too warm.

2. Stimulation

Young babies need stimulation to go to the bathroom or they can become dangerously constipated or compacted or get internal problems.

The mother would gently stimulate their genitals to make this happen, so we use damp Qtip to gently do the same, emphasis on gently !. As they get older they will go to the bathroom on their own and they you can finish with the stimulation

3. Carbohydrates

The monkeys can easily get metabolic problems such as diabetes and they are much more susceptible to it than humans.. When problems start, unlike humans they often can’t recover. We know of far too many monkeys dying from kidney failure due to this.. monkeys that the owner didn’t perceive as too overweight. Everyone we know has fallen for the “I just wanted to give them a treat, and it didn’t seem like much” trap and had to learn this lesson.. In an adult monkey – the size of their boobs ( under the arms ) can be a good indication of excess weight.

As a rule, stick to a vegetable diet with marmoset mix, canned or dried.. Some fruit ( small amount ) but vary it and only feed high carb foods like banana periodically. Avoid canned food with syrup and added sugars. Do not treat them with sugary treats, this is often where the problems start.. Overall quantity of food is important. We can advise you on diet.

4. Herpes Virus

The cold sore virus that most humans carry can kill a monkey in 24 hours and there is no way to stop it.. Do not share food that has been near your mouth and do not kiss them. Wash your hands.

5. Strangling

Monkeys play with anything and sadly many lose toes or limbs or die from strangling.. Do not have anything in the cage that has loops…suspend things from a single strand as they can get an arm or their head into a loop and they will twist if they get stuck and self strangle.

Especially with dressing the monkeys up, be aware this is not natural so try to keep it to a minimum, make sure nothing is tight, be aware of what can catch as they jump and play, and don’t have loops or chains or loose material.

Look carefully at everything and look for strangling or catch hazards and be super safe.. It’s always better to be obsessive about looking for hazards because monkeys are monkeys and will find a way to get into trouble if they can.

6. Choking Hazards

Many monkeys choke so make sure all toys do not have small hard parts that can be bitten off and would prove a choking hazard.

7. Sunlight

Monkeys need sunlight and/or a UV lamp to get vitamin D in order to absorb food properly. if they don’t get it they get weak and will get metabolic problems. this is common. They will get pale and listless and show signs of not moving properly.

Sunlight through a window is not enough as the UV doesn’t usually get through , and too much direct sunlight can be detrimental.. Ideally find a place where they can have access to direct sun but go into the shade when they have had enough. With UV lamps, do not place them too close to the cage and also make sure the monkey can get shade from it when required.

They don’t need a huge amount of sunlight / UV lamp but they do need it every day.
And remember they cannot tolerate cold weather, they are from warm climates so temperature monitoring and control is essential… Our suggestion ( as a guide ) is to use cooling fans at 85 degrees or above and heating to maintain a 75 degree minimum.

8. Falling

Because they’re monkeys we assume they won’t fall… but they do and especially when they’re young.

Start off with playing with your baby on the ground and when they climb onto anything place blankets or towels to soften any potential fall.. Over time they will get more confident but don’t let that fool you, they can still fall.. so be especially careful if you have hard floors until they are fully grown adults.

Start with a small cage and work upwards placing some soft material in the bottom until they are used to the greater height.

9. It’s a monkey

You may want to dress it up, and it will likely let you, but it is a monkey and needs the life of a monkey. Don’t try to make it into a little human, let it teach you about monkeys instead and then it will be happy.. Monkeys are very human-like but not in all ways so the best thing for your new baby is to let him or her teach you and you will have a happy partner.

You are buying a baby but it will grow into an adult monkey. .and upon reaching sexual maturity they can get difficult to handle.. Fear not, often its a phase that can be got through it just takes time and patience.. It can be really worrying when the thing you reared from a baby wants to get aggressive and bites, and sadly too many monkeys get abandoned or just left in their cages when this happens… but in most cases it can be managed.. We will happily give you advise.

10. They need company all the time

Your monkey will need to be with you, or another monkey most of the time. They are emotional, responsive, tactile creatures and similar to a 3 year old in their need to play and interact. We know of many cases where the owners left the monkey to go on vacation and returned to find a monkey that was extremely stressed, or was aggressive toward them. This little one is like a child and will need you, or you could partner them with another monkey but they need interaction and emotional support or they can and will get depressed.

11. Be super careful of getting advise online.

We hear so many horror stories of people getting advise and getting into trouble and this is even more prevalent in some of the so called ‘expert’ monkey groups. Just because someone has monkeys and seems confident does not mean they are giving you the best advise. We know people who have monkeys and give out dangerous advise on the basis “nothing bad has happened to me so far” but when really doing the research and talking to vets, it is that they have just been lucky so far.

The advise we give will not just be from our personal experience, but from having spoken to people we know who have very large populations of monkeys they had for a long time and who get their experience from vets and zoological publications, as do we…. We do not claim to be experts by any means but we will not share any information with you unless it comes from a creditable source and has been proven over time, that it agrees with the veterinary view, and that we can see demonstrated in the monkeys lives…

The Golden rule is wherever you get your info, always check with a vet who is familiar with the breed..Usually it doesn’t cost anything to double check something with them and most are happy to be consulted.

12. Enjoy your monkey