Cotton top Tamarin

Cotton top Tamarin


South central and northern half of South America.


Chiefly tropical rain forest, also gallery forest and forest patches in savanna.


Crest of long, white hairs from forehead to nape flowing over the shoulders. The back is brown, and the underparts, arms and legs are whitish-yellow. Rump and inner thighs are reddish-orange.

Cotton top Tamarin

The cotton-top tamarins usually live in groups of 8-13 individuals. Active from sunrise to sunset, they spend a large portion of their activity time foraging for animal prey, searching through leaves and along branches, and peering and reaching into holes and crevices in branches and tree trunks. They sleep in bushy vegetation. When alarmed or excited, these tamarins raise the hair on the crown of their head and stand up tall to make themselves look bigger. For communication, cotton-top tamarins whistle a shrill sound. Their alarm calls can be very loud.


Mating season: January-February, and birth of usually 2 offspring occurs in April-June. The female carries her young for 1-2 weeks before letting the male take over. The young become independent at 2 1/2 months and sexually mature in 18-24 months.

Cotton top Tamarin

Cotton-top tamarins once lived in many tropical forests of South America. During the 1960\'s and 1970\'s their use for medical research severely reduced their numbers. Today, like many other animals, these tamarins are losing their habitat to deforestation. As a result, their population continues to decline. Zoos and other wildlife organizations are working hard to conserve this species.

Did YOU Know?    
They have a highly developed vocal repertoire with at least 38 distinct vocalizations.
Cotton top Tamarin
Class: mammals
Order: Primates
Family: Callithricidae
Genus: Saguinus
Species: oedipus oedipus
Length: Head to body length: 8 - 10 inches, tail length: 13-16 inches
Weight: 14-16 ounces
Average Lifespan: 6.5 years
Wild Diet: Fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (gums,saps), and small animal prey (including frogs, snails, lizards, spiders, and insects)
Predators: Marten-like tayra, forest hawks, man

This is an ssp animal

USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Appendix I
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Tropics Zone

Learn more about mammals or animals from South America!
Or, cross-reference the two!