The mean average body temperature of callitrichids is between 98.6F and 100.4F. The average life span of a marmoset in captivity is approximately 12 years, and for a tamarin it is 16 years. Sexual maturity is reached at around 12 months for the females and 17 months for the male.

SPAYING & NEUTERING: It has been proven that spaying/neutering marmosets and tamarins does not always stop aggressive behaviors or biting. It does help to decrease these behaviors and definitly eliminates the increased frustration associated with his natural sex drive. Should you decide to alter your calliltrichid, best time is about 8-9 months old.

CANINE TEETH: Do NOT be tempted to remove canine teeth to make bites less painful. This is both cruel and dangerous as it can lead to malocclusion or the jaw to fracture more easily. Also, the practice of filing the teeth down can leave the tooth open to infection and make it difficult to properly chew their food. Avoid doing these things to make your life easier. Please take the time and make the effort to properly socialize and discipline your companion rather then turn to barbaric practices for the sake of convenience.

DISEASES: People with immune suppressing illness should probably not own callitrichids. The common human cold sore caused by the Herpes simplex virus is fatal in all cases, and measles can also be extremely harmful. For this reason, if a child is around a marmoset or tamarin, be sure that they have been properly vaccinated.

COMMON MEDICAL SITUATIONS: Diarrhea is an all too common medical problem for young marmosets and tamarins. It can be attributed to multiple factors like weaning, a change in diet and the stress associated with adjusting to new living arrangements. Should this occur, they can safely be given 0.25ml of Children;s Kaopectate or 0.25 ml of Pepto Bismol. Supplement fluids with Children's Pedialyte (unflavored) If diarrhea persists more than 48 hours, please all your vet, immediately! Calllitrichids, even very young ones, often hide signs of distress until they are quite ill. They are small and extremely fragile when it comes to reserves. Don't postpone medical care if you even suspect something may be wrong or waste valuable time with "folk" cures. Quick, medical intervention with proper fluids can be crucial to their survival.


Pulling an infant from its mother and immediately placing it on a surrogate (stuffy) is unnatural and cruel. It denies the baby the stimulation and contact it needs for healthy emotional development. It has been proven that motion encourages the connections of neuronal pathways, and babies that are carried not only develop motor skills more quickly, but gain weight more steadily and appear healthier all around. Don't let anyone try to convince you that it's just fine to put this tiny, emotionally dependent and fragile infant on a heating pad and surrogate stuffy. It is during this early stage that he develops unwavering trust and deep emotional attachment to his caregiver. Handle your baby constantly. Get him accustomed to being fondled and petted. Make soft vocalizations and twittering noises so he can learn to recognize your "voice" He should be with you every waking hour…..period. Place him in your hair to hang on much like he would on his own parents, or tucked inside your shirt. This will help him learn your scent, and also help him grow dependent on you to meet his deep emotional and social needs.

From personal experience, I can say that babies carried by their human parent rather than placed on a surrogate, blossom into affectionate and responsive family members. On the other hand, there are countless stories of emotionally displaced and neurotic monkeys that suffer needlessly because uninformed parents were convinced that minimal handling and attention to physical needs would be sufficient. Animals treated this way will never become the loving companion you desire.

If your life is too busy for this constant, committed care or for any reason you feel the need to place your baby on a surrogate from the beginning, please rethink your reasons for being a monkey parent. There simply are no shortcuts to doing this the right way. You want easy?.... I suggest getting a goldfish!

If you have a veterinarian that has experience with the care and feeding of callitrichids, that should always be your number one source for information. I recommend that you always follow his or her guidelines as well as use your common sense and judgment to arrive at a regimen that best suits the health needs of your baby.

Below are the feeding and care protocols used by my personal veterinarian who has many years of experience rearing primates. Please feel free to use it as a guideline and make adjustments based on the advice of your own veterinarian.

Have an accurate gram scale and weigh your baby daily at the same time of day. Monitoring his or her weight is the best indicator of health and proper growth. A healthy baby should gain weight daily. A good visual indicator of health is to observe how the infant caries it's tail. If the tail is straight or limp the baby may be in distress. A happy, healthy baby tends to carry his tail tightly curled to his body.

Of primary importance is that once a baby is pulled from the mother, it should have interaction with a human caregiver almost continually. Hand-raising a baby callitrichid requires an incredible amount of devotion, time and emotional energy. To best simulate their natural lives, you should carry the infant as often as possible for warmth and emotional security. This is best done by having a small pouch that can be safely tucked into your shirt to keep the baby warm and to maintain the stimulation of motion and touch. Infants can not thermo-regulate until they are about two months old and need an outside source of warmth. Keeping the baby close achieves both goals.

HEATING: Infants can NOT thermo regulate their body temperature. Should you need to put the infant on a surrogate for brief periods, take care that the ambient temperature is maintained at around 95 degrees F to avoid chilling. Either a well insulated and padded heating pad (that stays on) or reptile heating squares are suggested. Do be careful that overheating does not occur as this can be quite hazardous.

FORMULA: Powder formula low iron: mix as directed using bottled or distilled water only. Do not use formula with added iron as the levels are too high for the infant to properly metabolize and can cause permanent liver damage. Warm formula to 98 degrees for feeding. Feed every 2 - 3 hours day and night up to three weeks of age. Volume: marmosets start at 0.1mL and increase 0.1 to 0.2 mL daily to two to three weeks. Tamarins start at 0.5 mL and increase to 0.1 to 0.2 mL up to 3 weeks of age. By the age of three weeks, all callitrichids begin to eat soft solid foods. The best indicator of proper volume is the infant. They will let you know when they are hungry. They will either be quite vocal and seem agitated, they will nibble at anything placed in front of them or they will keep trying to reach into your mouth to "see" if there is food available. Never be tempted to overfeed by forcing your baby to eat more after they seem full and push away their bottle. Any extra sleep you think you can get by "topping" them off will be spent soothing them because their tummy is upset.

BEGINNER SOLIDS: single grain baby cereal mixed into formula: mash in a little banana, papaya or mango. Yogurt can also be mixed into this mash. Babies usually only will take food that is given to them by their parents, so it may be necessary to act like you are eating it before offering it to the baby. Under no circumstances should you ever feed the infant from any food or utensil you have had in your mouth. Human bacteria and particularly any form of human herpes will cause fatal encephalitis. Remember to always wash your hands before handling an infant.

OFFER SOLID FOODS two to three times a day with active encouragement. Begin to decrease formula feedings to six times a day week four, four times a day week five, then usually offer formula feedings two - three times a day until 20 weeks of age. Have solid foods available all the time during this 20 weeks, and actively encourage eating them. Most callitrichids eat at dawn and dusk and/or in the late evening around our dinnertime. By week four, begin mashing in a little canned or dry marmoset diet to the cereal mix to begin the "flavor and texture" process. If given the marmoset diet from an early age, it is more likely that it will be the proper percentage of their diet as adults. Don't wait too late to introduce this important diet staple. Canned and dry marmoset diets contain the complex proteins and high vitamin D3

ADULT DIET: Marmosets and Tamarins For weight of 500 grams
Morning: Canned or dry marmoset diet (30) grams
AFTERNOON AND DINNER 2 biscuits soaked in Orange juice (amount from 1/2 orange)
approx 1/8 apple, 1/5 banana, 1 tsp yogurt, 1 tsp cottage cheese
25 grams of High Quality feline diet dry (like Wellness Diet, or Iams)
1 drop of pediatric vitamins daily

Fruits like papaya, mango, pear, strawberry, or a grape, orange section, small cube of cantaloupe (the size of a dice)
Veggies: a green bean, small carrot coin, (avoid high starch veggies like potato or corn...little nutritional value)
Small piece of cheese (string cheese or cheddar) cooked shrimp, artificial crab, hard boiled egg with shell
dark meat chicken (broiled or boiled)

Always try to use the freshest fruits and vegetables available as vitamin content begins to deteriorate soon after they are harvested.

1 tsp Whey Protein Powder (can be found unsweetened, no artificial sweetener or additives at GNC)
1 tsp yogurt
1 tsp baby banana
1 oz. water
can be offered in a dish or given by syringe as a treat before bed... a good way to give medications if needed

Fresh water available always!

Treats: 3 times a week offer crickets...(obtain from a reputable source that is sterile and free of parasites)

NOTE: They love to find treats hiding in holes on perches or hanging from string. They seem to love the idea that they "found" a treat and typically "twitter" with joy at the process.

Chocolate is not harmful to callitrichids, but any kind of sweet should be fed on rare occasions only.


UVA/UVB LIGHT: Unfiltered sunlight, approved UVA/UVB bulbs for several hours per day, Calcium with vitamin D3 


Like all primates, Callitrichids have a wide range of visual and vocal communications. They have a rich language and use facial expressions, body postures and vocalizations to convey information about their emotional state, social status and intent. Due in part to their small size and natural habitats vocal communication is important over longer distances and visual signals are used more in close-range communications. When attempting to interpret and understand Marmoset and Tamarin communications, remember that what they are attempting to convey needs to be taken in context.

"PHEE" A very loud high pitched whistle used primarily over long distances. This is basically a "where are you?" and used to locate family members

"TSIKS and STACCATOS" A brief descending series of chirps that signify a possible threat. (I often hear this if PJ sees the neighbors dog in the yard)

"TRILL" This is a common communication call and is heard frequently between interaction and play. They often use this as a response call if you whisle across a room, for instance.

"SEE or SEEP" This is a brief, loud call emitted with mouth half open. It is motivated by fear or alarm and is usually done with the monkey seemingly frozen in position.

"TWITTER" Similar to "seep" but has a lower frequency and is emitted in a repeated pattern. This is heard in situations of mild disturbance, unrecognized noise or possible conflict. I've heard PJ do this when watching the cats playing with one another a little rougher than he would like.

"TSAK" Similar to "seep" but much louder and with a lower frequency. This call is heard in panic situations along with "EKK" and "COUGH" and warns of approaching predator and general alarm. It is used as a mobbing call and all other individuals will respond with a similar call.

"LOUD TSAK" Similar to "tsak" but extremely loud and with mouth wide open. This is sometimes emitted with rapid in/out tongue movement and is motivated by intense alarm. It is accompanied by pilo-erection.

"CHIRP" This is a common call and heard in situations of play, and at the sight of food. I often hear this sound when PJ is enjoying an ear scratch or is extremely content and grooming.

"COUGH" This call has a low frequency and is emitted in short durations signifying mild alarm or caution. Sometimes used when approaching an unknown object or in a new situation.

"EKK" Another mild alarm call emitted with mouth slightly open and often done while standing on hind legs (ike a prairie dog) and checking out surroundings.

"SCREAM" Loud, very long call done with mouth open and done in varying harmonics. This call generally has playful motivations and is accompanied with submissive body behaviors.

"EEK EEK EEK" This is a call and behavior applicable only to Tamarins. Teeth are clenched and bared while shaking head side to side (much like a chimpanzee playfully laughing and shaking its head). In a Tamarin this is communicating frustration and alpha posturing and can be seen as a challenge. When confronted with this particular vocalization and body posturing its best just to speak in a calm voice and stare right back!

"PURR": Again this applies only to Tamarins and is indeed a true purring sound. They do this when extremely content and happy.


GALLOP: This is when an individual runs quickly with tail extended and is commonly seen during play or fleeing from a predator. It has both fear and play motivations.

BOUNCE: This is running with an exaggerated bouncing movement and is used to initiate play or exploration. It's a way of saying "come with me" or "follow me"

STALK: An individual will visually fixate on another and hide and bounce in an attempt to engage another in play.

SLIDE: This is where an individual moves onto his side propelled by arms and legs and is also a component of playful behavior.

ROLL: This is where an individual rolls onto the back or sides in a somersault motion. It is seen in social and solitary play .

LEG STAND: This is when an individual stand on its hind legs with hands outstretched. This can be seen when observing an object and is generally motivated by interest or curiosity and an attempt to get better visibility. If accompanied by other behaviors, it can also be used to signify aggression and attempt to make the individual appear "larger".

WITHDRAWAL GESTURE: This is when an individual withdraws its body and arms while doing a leg stand. It signifies submission (i.e. "Don't touch me" or No, I don't want to") Seen for instance if the individual has something that you want to take away.

CRINGE: This is a more extreme form of withdrawal and the hind legs are bent. The posture is submissive and motivated by extreme fear. Eyes will be averted and ear tufs wll be down.

LIP SMACKING: Lips are smacked in a rhythmic motion and may be accompanied with slow tongue in/out. This is not done occasionally to show submission and an attempt to appease. It is done during mating approach and to resolve extreme conflict.

SLOW TONGUE IN/OUT: This is when the tongue is moved in and out slowly. It is used only occasionally during grooming.

QUICK TONGUE IN/OUT: This is when the tongue is moved more quickly as compared to slow in/out. This is used in response to reciprocal behavior during mating.

VERY RAPID TONGUE IN/OUT: This is done with mouth wide open and tongue is moved very quickly towards another individual. This is given in response to potential predators and is motivated as a defense response.

HEAD COCK STARE: This is where an individual moves the head from side to side while observing a stimulus. It shows interest and curiosity.

OPEN MOUTH: This is where the individual has the mouth wide ope with teeth sometimes showing. This behavior is common and is motivated by playful intent. It is used more by adult males than females.

HEAD TOSS: This is where an individual stands upright on hind legs and tosses the head back and forth. This behavior isn't commonly seen in those kept as companions and is used primarily as gesturing to another troop.

PARTIAL OPEN MOUTH: This is when the middle portion of mouth is open and teeth are visible. It can be seen while approaching an unknown object or as a response to non-specific aggression.