The Finger Monkey, A Pygmy Marmoset

Finger monkeys, these tiny monkeys do exist.

Many people have seen pictures of tiny monkeys so small that they’re able to cling onto a human’s finger. They have become increasingly popular with the rise of photo-sharing websites. This leaves many people searching for information on what type of monkey it is, where they can own one, and whether or not the images are edited. Fortunately, these ring-tailed adorable creatures do exist; here, you will find a little more information on “finger monkeys” and their origins, as well as whether or not you can own one of those furry little buddies for yourself.

Pygmy Marmosets

The pygmy marmoset is commonly referred to as the “finger monkey“. Occasionally, pygmy marmosets are referred to as “pocket monkeys”. Sometimes pet breeders also refer to sugar gliders as “pocket monkeys”. On average, these monkeys weigh about 119 grams and measure roughly 136 millimeters. The pygmy marmoset is actually classified as the smallest primate in the world. Its scientific name is “Cebuella Pygmaea”. This minuscule species belongs to the Cebidae family and is found in tropic South American countries such as Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Columbia. Due to their size and the dense rainforests they inhabit, they are quite hard to study and keep track of, resulting in considerably less data on them compared to their other, larger primate relatives.However, it is known that they have a diet that primarily consists of insects, nectars, flowers, buds, and dining on sap, resin, and other liquids found inside of tropical plants. They have been known to even eat small lizards on rare occasions! Their lower incisors are shaped in a way that helps them gnaw on plants to extract the juices inside. Their small size lets them support their entire weight on their claws when needed. They also run along branches with all four paws in a way similar to squirrels, can leap distances as far as five meters, and can turn their heads 180 degrees to look for predators while hanging from the trees. Speaking of predators, the pygmy marmoset’s natural predators are small jungle cats, climbing snakes, and birds of prey. They often are forced to compete for tree sap sources with other primates and ants.Pygmy marmosets are social animals that are used to migrating in family units and spending time bonding with each other through grooming, huddling, and playing. They communicate in high-pitched noises like squeaks and trills. Females have a higher likelihood of giving birth to twins (and sometimes triplets) than other types of primates. Lifespans can be as long as 11 years. They do not have opposable thumbs.

Finger Monkey Prices

It is not recommended that pygmy marmosets are kept as pets, as they tend to bite and throw excrement. They are considered exotic pets, and according to U.S. law must be purchased from a USDA-certified breeder. Pricing is usually in the thousands. This does not include the necessary vaccinations, their diet, and the large cage–with heating and light installments– that are needed to replicate their spacious forest home. Healthcare for a pet as exotic as a pygmy marmoset is not only hard to locate, it can be immensely expensive as well. Due to the possibility of spreading disease, many local governments ban the sale and ownership of exotic pets like these little pygmies. With this in mind, “finger monkeys” are adorable, wondrous creatures who should be left in their own comfy homes rather than as a pet. Fortunately, they can be donation-adopted, viewed and visited at many wildlife sanctuaries for less than the price of caring for them!  Click for more about finger monkeys.

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