Our Marmosets history



For those of you who are not in the know about the Marmoset monkeys, the more common ones of the species are the white ear and black ear type.  We had white ears 18 odd years ago, then from about eight years ago we had both the white ear and the black ear.


The Adult Male Beau, formed part of triplets that were born around 4 years ago. The parents can not raise three babies successfully, so one is removed and hand raised.  We hand raised Beau.  He did brilliantly and was totally weaned and eating on his own, and I decided to return him to his parents. Over the years we had done this before with no problem at all.  We did the introduction fairly well, and for two days all was well until we heard this horrendous screaming, and rushed out to find, the mother had attacked Beau, why I have no idea. She had really injured his rear leg.  We took him to one vet, who works with wild life, etc, but she was not available and her colleague, attempted to splint the leg and bandage it.  Days later he went for a check up and the leg was not doing very well. At this stage the wildlife vet redid the leg.  A short while later I took the monkey to my own vet, who had been on leave at the time of this happening. He advised me, that no healing was taking place, and the best thing to do would be to amputate.  This was done and Beau remained as a pet.  We had numerous monkeys at that stage and my son who used to share the hand raising duties, obviously grew up and started doing his own thing. Late nights, girlfriends.  I do not do what a lot of breeders do, and let them go for hours during the night without being fed, from newborn we would get up every two hours for the baby to be fed, as the baby grew older, it would go to three hourly feeds and then four hourly feeds. We however, never left them unfed during the night, as this would not happen in nature, mother would be there all the time. 


 I felt that it was possibly time to reacess the monkey situation and look for a buyer for them all.  We managed to find a buyer a long distance away and she bought all of them.  We felt this was ideal as they had always been caged alongside each other and all knew each other. We never sold the progeny, they all remained as happy families.   We took over quite a few at one stage from a breeder who felt they were too much trouble for him, and when his one female lost her two babies soon after birth. He just did not want to know the monkeys anymore.  The females concerned that would not breed for him, had twins and triplets with us after being here a while.  My sons client who was in his forties,  wanted a Marmoset as a pet, and begged us to give him Beau, he had a friend for Beau already. We considered it for quite a long time and then thought it was more than likely a better life for Beau being with another monkey and the guy concerned worked from home, and was a really excellent owner.  He took Beau and all was well for months. 


One day my son who at that stage was living away from home, got a call about Beau, he was depressed and sitting in the corner of the cage, would not come out, the owner was worried. Michael, my son, went to see Beau. He was so pleased to see Michael and the owner said take him. He is so depressed – please take him.  My son had to do a make shift arrangement, as he had no cage etc, so Beau, had a make shift collar around the waste and a lead, and lived like that for a couple of weeks. My son came to visit, Beau heard my voice and that was that. He jumped onto me, come the time for my son to leave, Beau would not go to my son, so Beau’s choice he remained with us.  We kept him in a large parrot cage in our living area, he used to love to cuddle but children, he hated.  My Granddaughters have been regular visitors since birth and spend a lot of time with us on weekdays when the parents are at work.  Beau would pull their hair given half a chance or bite inquisitive toddlers and little girls fingers. 


The opportunity arose where we could buy a friend for Beau and we did, and Buttons came to stay with us.  They took to each other on site, and spent all their time together. We were happy for Beau, as monkeys need to be with other monkeys. Once the colder months had subsided and the warm weather arrived again, they were moved to a large aviary outside.


Buttons matured and they were together for quite a long period of time.  One late afternoon I went to feed them their dinner and wondered why the female had such a variation in her coat colour, something I had not seen before. On closer inspection – she had two babies on her back, fast asleep.  I was quite surprised at that, as we were not concerned whether they ever bred or not, our concern was purely for Beau to have a companion, a friend. She is a big monkey and a pregnancy was never obvious. In actual fact I have no idea where she hid those two babies. A monkey that is pregnant is quite obvious. Strangely enough a couple of weeks prior to her having these babies, my eldest son had commented that they had never produced offspring.


We were so excited babies, and the parents so proud. If you have ever owned Marmosets you will know they are very protective over those babies, they usually will attack, and a hand raised monkey is the worst for this, they usually will turn on you, and can become quite dangerous and vicious, because they do not fear humans.  I expected Beau who is so friendly and always has been to become aloof and protective, but on the contrary he was still as loving as ever and continually came to be cuddled. Mother on the other hand kept way out of reach with her two prize babies. The father usually carries the babies and Mom takes them for feeding, they share the parental duties.  We noticed Beau carrying a baby at a time, never the two, possibly because he only had three limbs instead of four.  Mother kept a watchful eye on us, when anywhere near their cage.  Two days after birth, I went to check all was going well. The babies at all times must be high up on the parents body, a baby carrying low on the parents means, the baby is weak and if it falls off the parents body chances are 99% that, that is that, it will die.  We watched those babies and they were in tip top shape.  I went to talk to them, 3rd  day and Beau arrived to see me baby and all, I put my hand into the opening for the food bowls, which is quite a long ledge shaped opening, he brought the baby for me to see. I could not believe this, this was unheard of,  they are usually so cautious and very protective and will bite if you approach those babies. He let me remove the baby and look at it, all the time sitting close by to me on the ledge. It was a baby girl, and I gave him back his baby.  The mother was not impressed with Dad giving me her baby, so after that Dad had to remain behind her as far away from me as possible, and if he had a baby and tried to come to me, the baby would be removed from his care.


As the days went by and the babies flourished Beau would come as usual for his cuddles and Mom would keep her distance with her babies. Two weeks or so down the line, I happened to be walking past the cage and Beau called out to me, he had a baby on his back, as I went up to him, Buttons got cranky and started displaying that she was not impressed, but Beau just sat there offering me to take the baby. I took the baby – a boy. A  pigeon pair. How wonderful.  I immediately returned the baby to him.  Mother more than chewed his ear off about giving me the baby to hold.


The babies went from strength to strength and now at almost four months of age, and really cute, mother is not that hung up on them getting to close to me now. She warns them to stay away but they are taking on Dads trusting ways, and the little male will hold onto my fingers through the bars, giving me the occasional lick on the fingers,  while Dad as usual gets his tickles and cuddles. The baby girl is now also coming and hangs on the wire, but no physical contact. In time I am sure it will happen. Buttons will take food from my hand but will not allow me to touch her.  They will remain as a family unit. This is what happens in the wild, and the mother will be the only one who breeds if and when she decides to.  I photograph them regularly, and my granddaughters can be nowhere near. Given a chance Beau in a split second will be out that cage and attack my 4 year old grand daughter. Luckily it is always the feet he goes for and she wears gumboots a lot of the time while outside, so lucky for her, she has not been hurt.


We will keep you posted, on this happy little family………