Cotton-top Tamarin

Scientific name: Saguinus oedipus

Conservation status:critically-endanered

Life expectancy: 14 years

Gestation period: 183 days


Lifestyle and Location:

  • A small new world (South American) monkey. Found in tropical rainforest edges in northwest Columbia where it is arboreal (lives in the trees) and diurnal (active in day time).
  • The diet of a cotton-top tamarin includes insects and plants and is a known seed disperser in the tropical ecosystem.
  • The biggest threat to this monkey is the deforestation of their forests and also are put in the illegal pet trade. There is only around 2,000 left in the wild and 1,200 in captivity.


The cotton-top tamarin has a long white lock of hair coming from the top of their head (as shown in the picture at the top) and this stops at around the monkey’s shoulders. They weigh 432 g on average and from top to tail is about 53.8 – 66.9cm long. Males and females are similar size and weight and have the same colour patterns.

Joss‘s Facts

  • Like most tamarins the female gives birth to twins and everyone in the group helps care for the infants.
  • The dominant female is the one who does the majority of the breeding.
  • To get water they lick leaves that are wet with rain or dew because on the floor they will be very vulnerable to predators.
  • They have lost about 75% of their habitat due to deforestation