A zoo in the United Kingdom has welcomed two tiny twin monkeys that are as small as ping pong balls. The baby eastern pygmy marmosets have arrived at UK’s Chester Zoo and measure just two inches in length and weigh 10 grams, as they are one of the world’s smallest species of monkey.
Due to their incredibly small size, the zookeepers say it will be some time until their genders are known. However their parents Zoe, 3, and Baldrick, 4, have already taken up parenting duties.
According to The Independent, primate keeper Holly Webb says that it is wonderful to see new additions within the marmoset family and it is almost unbelievable just how small the babies are when they are first born. They are no bigger than a ping pong ball. Their mother Zoe and father Baldrick have jumped straight into parenthood.
Webb said that Zoe is caring like mothers do and, unlike other primates, father Baldrick is heavily involved in the upbringing of the babies. Baldrick had realised that Zoe was ready to give birth and even put on a little extra weight to get some extra energy to care for the twins. Baldrick is very much dedicated towards parenting as the zookeepers spotted him carrying the babies around on his back when they were just one day old.
The Chester zoo staff told the news outlet that the babies are already very inquisitive and aware of their surroundings. Even they cannot wait to see them grow up into their own little personalities.
The Marmoset species are native to South America’s Amazon rainforest of western Brazil, south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru. Their habitat is threatened and are often exposed to hunting or capture for the illegal pet trade. Deputy curator of mammals at the zoo, Dr Nick Davis said that despite their tiny stature, pygmy marmosets make a lot of loud noises, especially when calling out to attract a mate or warning others of danger. Their small size should not deceive you since their whistles and squeals can be heard throughout the rainforest.
Dr Davis said that unfortunately, as their habitat continues to disappear, this can be to their detriment, as a lack of cover leaves them even more exposed to illegal hunters and trappers. However, with the help of conservation teams who are working on restoring their forest and creating safe areas, things can get better. The new arrivals at the zoo help them to further highlight what needs to be done to prevent their extinction.