lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

M is for Marmoset

A gorgeous pygmy marmoset image, taken by Day Donaldson on Flikr.

Pygmy marmoset, Day Donaldson

Some time ago, a couple of years, I wrote a pygmy marmoset poem. I wasn’t that pleased with it, and decided to have another go for this A-Z.

Imagine my horror when I tried to Google information about them, and found nearly every link to be facts about how to keep one as a pet.

Pygmy marmosets are endangered in their native South America. The pet trade is one of the main reasons. Even if you buy a marmoset bred in your own country, you are adding to the chain of illegal capture of these delightful primates.

They do not make particularly good pets, they need a massive amount of attention, have a nasty bite, throw poo, and smell.

Their specialised diet is impossible to recreate – mainly tree sap and gum, obtained by gnawing through bark with their very sharp teeth, and insects.

The worst thing, though, is that they are extremely vulnerable to the herpes virus – if you have ever had a cold sore, and come into contact with a marmoset, they will catch it, even if you don’t have one at the time.

A cold sore is a minor inconvenience to most people, but it is fatal to a marmoset.

They are wonderful, finger-sized monkeys, the smallest in the world, they live in groups of about 12, and they show remarkable care for each other. The BBC has some film of another type of male marmoset staying with and comforting his dying partner for nearly two hours.

So – here is my new (pygmy) marmoset poem.


Pygmy Marmoset


The pygmy

marmoset is all

chittering, chattering,

clicking call,

he laps at sap,

he leaps the trees,

quick and slick

and small as leaves,

his golden coat

hides him well,

he has an

interesting smell,

so if you want

an ideal pet,

know this – it’s

not a marmoset.


Poem © Liz Brownlee

Here is a short video of a pygmy marmoset, Ninita, in a captive breeding conservation program. She was born deaf, and rejected, so has been hand-reared, therefore I can show you this film knowing no marmoset suffered in its making.


Poem and text © Liz Brownlee

Photo © Day Donaldson

Poem © Liz Brownlee

Information from Monkey Worlds.

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.


  1. OK that pic of this marmoset is cute but it looks like the hairdryer has been on him too long. People should realize that just because it is small and cute doesn’t mean it can be like a dog or a cat. What a shame about this tiny little animal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. All non-domesticated animals should be in the wild, unless they are part of a breeding programme to return them to safe parts of the wild.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 The marmoset is cute, but thanks for sharing about it and how endangered it would be to have one as a pet (not that I would ever consider having one). I did like your poem 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I had no idea so many were kept as pets. Lovely poem. I like your approach to give the background and a poem too. Delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Over the years, we have kept all manner of animals: reptiles, cage birds, birds of prey, ferrets, chipmunks, gerbils, rats, etc. as well as cats and dogs. Mostly, though, it was a one-way contract. Apart from being fed and kept safe from predators, the animals derived nothing from the arrangement.
    Clearly, I haven’t always felt like that, and I can’t expect others to; and yes, something inside me, on seeing a particularly attractive little animal, still screams out ‘I want one’.
    However, I think I’ll stick with companion animals or working animals; essentially, animals that will come back when we call them, ideally because they choose to be with us as much as we choose to be with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kept caged birds at one point, Keith. It came a gradual awakening for me. We have a symbiotic arrangement with cats and dogs – we gain from them, they gain from us., and dogs, although not as truly free as a cat, value being with us over that freedom. At least – most do!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great poem and education on the Marmoset.
    (I have another poet on my blog today, Marie Howe.)
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    Play off the Page


  6. hollykerrauthor

    So sweet but not for pets!! Lovely poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh your marmoset is adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The poem? Or the photo? The photo is of one in a rescue centre. It is adorable! But not a pet, of course!


  8. This one was a cutie. Sweet poem for a sweet little marmoset.


  9. Adorable animal. Thank you for teaching me about it. It saddens me though that some people think exotic and wild, endangered animals make good pets.


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