Poco joins Peek-a-Boo Monkey Games at Alma!

Pygmy Marmosets have been part of Alma for a number of years.  With the arrival of Poco from Perth Zoo,  Alma is now part of the Australasian breeding program for this species!

Pygmy Marmosets are native to the rainforests of the Amazon Basin and are notable for being the smallest monkeys in the world weighing just over 100 grams.

Four year old  twin brothers Penne and Pesto are best of friends and enjoy centre stage as the smallest of all the monkeys at Alma.    It is not just their tiny size that defines the Pygmy Marmoset from other Marmoset and Tamarin monkeys.   Pygmy Marmosets also have a range of different behaviours suited to their life history that makes them different from the larger Common Marmosets, Emperor Tamarins and Cotton Top Tamarins at Alma Park Zoo.

Poco (left) settles into her new home with Penne (right)
Photo: Teale Shapcott

Poco pokes her tongue out for the camera
Photo: Teale Shapcott

In comparison to the Common Marmosets that race around their environment at top speed, vocalising and swinging crazily from trees, the Pygmy Marmosets are shy and observant of their surroundings.

For a monkey as small as the Pygmy Marmoset, the world can be a scary place, especially if you are a top menu item for most Amazonian animals!

Pygmy Marmosets live in smaller groups than Common Marmosets.  As a result they are far more observant for the threat of predators than Common Marmosets who use a safety in number strategy for protection by living in larger groups.

When you see the Pygmy Marmosets at Alma, you will see them playing peek-a-boo from behind a narrow branch or leaf, carefully watching for predators by rotating their heads through 180 degrees.   The Pygmys will creep quietly and slowly about their habitat using the thinnest of supports, which is also an ideal tactic for sneaking up on insect prey.

Poco just hanging around..
Photo Credit: Teale Shapcott

Even though Pygmys are 14cm long, they can leap up to 5 metres from branch to branch.  They have strong claws they use to hold on tightly to the underside of branches or vines to move around in quiet stealth mode.

Recently, Alma welcomed a 4 year old female Pygmy Marmoset from Perth Zoo.  Her name Poco means tiny in Spanish.   Poco is actually larger than the males – Penne and Pesto.  Poco has settled in well to her new environment and she has paired up with Penne.  However, since the introduction, Keepers have been interested to note that Poco has allowed both Penne and Pesto to mate with her.

Pygmy Marmoset pregnancies last around 4.5 months, so Keepers are hoping to welcome the smallest arrivals to Alma Park Zoo in October this year.

Pesto surveying his little domain at Alma Park Zoo
Photo: Teale Shapcott

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