M is for Marmoset
A gorgeous pygmy marmoset image, taken by Day Donaldson on Flikr.
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.
marmoset is all
he laps at sap,
he leaps the trees,
quick and slick
and small as leaves,
his golden coat
hides him well,
he has an
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.
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