Facts About the World's Smallest Monkey

The smallest monkey in the world is so small that it can easily fit in a pocket of your shirt. More of such facts await you in the following.
With body length ranging from 5.5 to 6.3 in (14 to 16 cm), a tail length of 5.5 to 6.3 in (15 to 20 cm), and weight of about 4.2 oz to 4.9 oz (120 to 140 g), the title of being the smallest monkey in the world, unquestionably, goes to the pygmy marmoset. Also known as the 'Dwarf Monkey', this tiny mammal is known to inhabit the rainforest regions which are spread in western Brazil, southeastern part of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador (eastern regions) and the northern regions of Bolivia. This primate belongs to the family of the New World monkeys, which are characterized as being small to mid-sized.

Facts About the World's Smallest Monkey
  • The monkey's tiny size makes even a leaf a good hiding spot from predators like birds, snakes, etc.
  • Although it is known as a marmoset, its characteristic features differentiate themselves from typical marmosets.
  • Given the petite size of this animal, it is amazing to know that it is capable of jumping about 5 meters.
  • Given to its minute size, this animal is also known as mono de bolsillo meaning 'pocket monkey' and leoncito meaning 'little lion'.
  • The pygmy marmoset uses multiple modes of communication with its family members. These modes may not be only by vocal by nature, but physical, or chemical as well. Usually, it uses clicks, whistles and trills, which are highly pitched, to communicate with other members. Sometimes, their pitch can be so intense, that the sound cannot be heard by humans.
  • Habitat for this New World monkey mainly consists of the understory layer and the underbrush of forests they live in. According to experts, trees that are supposed to be favorites to these little creatures include the tropical oak trees, dwarf papaya (tropical), tulip trees (African), and the princess trees. It rarely visits the ground.
  • The average life span of this mammal is 11 to 12 years in the wild, but early 20s when reared in zoos.
  • Fortunately, given the high reproduction rate of this animal and its widespread population, it is not considered as an endangered species.
  • It is typically found to live in small groups, led by an alpha female. Most groups share a common sleeping site every night.
  • A mother pygmy marmoset usually gives birth to two babies, and sometimes three.
  • It has been researched that, 85% of the monkey's diet consists of tree sap, and exudate produced by other plants. The animal drills a hole into the tree using its claws and drinks the sap from it. Occasionally, it may enjoy insects and fruits.
  • One of the characteristic features which categorizes this species of monkey as a New World monkey is that it does not have opposable thumbs, as compared to its Old World cousins.
  • The pygmy marmoset scores low when it comes to raising it as a pet. This is because of its sap-based diet, which cannot be simulated in captivity. And this is why the animal gets stressed when it is dislodged from its natural environment.
And to conclude with one last fact about the smallest monkey, when confronted by another male, it displays its genitals as one of the ways to show its strength and superior skill. I wonder what fun it would be seeing such a small animal actually doing that!
By Rajib Singha
Published: 3/19/2011
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