Tamarin (Cotton Top)

Saguinus oedipus

IUCN Red List status: Critically Endangered

For more info on classifications, visit www.iucnredlist.org

Critically Endangered


Where they live

North western Columbia


Humid tropical forest, dry deciduous forest and secondary growth forest


18-30cm in length




8-15 years


Habitat destruction, illegal pet trade

Did you know...

  • They can run along branches at up to 40kph using their long tails for balance.
  • They can leap 10 feet in the air from tree to tree
  • They have a vocal repertoire of 38 distinct sounds

More about Cotton-top tamarins...

Cotton-top tamarins are mainly active during the day and live high up in the trees. They feed mainly on fruit, insects, vegetation, small mammals, and small bird eggs. To get the water they need they lick leaves that are wet with rain or dew

They are highly social monkeys and tend to live in groups. Like other tamarin species, when they are not feeding, they spend a lot of time on social grooming. They are territorial and scent mark their territories. To scare away intruders they often fluff up their fur and make loud noises. Only the dominant female of the group breeds, and will usually give birth to twins after a gestation period of approximately 140 days.

The cotton-top tamarin used to be poached by humans a lot for research purposes and the exotic pet trade. They have been protected in Columbia since 1969, and exporting the species has been banned since 1976.

How you can help...

Adopt a Tamarin (Cotton Top)!

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