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A Day in the Life of a Cotton-top Tamarin

May 8 2012
by NEW Zoo Education Dept

Yaaaaaawwnnnnn.  The sun is starting to spill in through the entrance of the box I’m sleeping in.  Two other tamarins are in here with me, but aren’t awake yet.  That means I can have some fun!  YOINK!  I give an exposed tail a sharp tug, then leap out of the box as quickly as I can.  Two seconds later, a screeching, but groggy, tamarin tumbles out, trying to catch me as I scamper away.  His cotton-top tuft of white hair is ruffled, but I suppose that’s not too far off from the usual look.  For a few minutes, he chases me around the exhibit, and it ends in a brief wrestling match.  Neither of us have very long attention spans, so it’s not long before we’re on to other things.

Ooooh!  I know what I can do next.  Let’s see how many jumps, going from branch to branch, it takes for me to get from one side of the exhibit to the other.  One.  Two. Threeeeee- I have to stretch out to make that one. Four. Five. Six, and I’m there.  Not bad, but I might be able to do it in five!  I try again, going back the other way, only to have it quickly turn into a game of tag with another buddy.  Happens often with us tamarins; we just love playing tag!

Feeding time!  Keeper Shannon brings us our food dishes.  Another tamarin quickly grabs a piece of pineapple and tries to hop away with it.  Nope! I snatch it from him and jump all the way to the opposite corner.  Why get my own food when I can steal from my friends?  It’s just so much more fun!  Anything can be turned into a game.  After a couple pieces of fruit, I’m satisfied and ready to burn some more energy.

I see fingers poking out of a crack in my sleeping box.  MUST CATCH THEM.  Blast, she’s too quick.  She always manages to pull them back before I can get a hold of them.  Another tamarin is convinced he can do better, and pushes me aside.  Again, the fingers are too nimble.  Oh well, my short attention span gets the best of me yet again. 

After an action-packed day full of tag, wrestling, racing, and all-around craziness, it’s time to settle into our nest boxes.  We split up to our separate quarters, 3-4 tamarins per box, and curl up for some much-needed sleep.


Never a dull moment in the life of a cotton-top!

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