Meet Bently and Jag
As the saying goes, “like father, like son.” Father Bently and son Jag are the dynamic duo of Marmoset Gardens, where they share their digs with a variety of other colorful characters, like a red-crested turaco, Demoiselle crane, Mandarin duck, and others. They don’t wear capes, but they both love jumping on their keepers and riding around on their shoulders as their habitat is cleaned. Jag and Bently don’t own cell phones of their own, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy hearing the ring-tones on yours. They find the tones irresistibly mesmerizing, just like you’ll find our Marmoset friends…irresistibly mesmerizing.
Common marmosets are native to Brazil. They live in the northeastern and central forests ranging from the Atlantic coast and inland into Rio Grande do Norte. They have been introduced into other areas and live within the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Marmosets can be found in a number of forest habitats. They live in Atlantic coastal forests as well as semi-deciduous forests farther inland. They can also inhabit savanna forests and riverine forests. Marmosets excel in dry secondary forests and edge habitats; although they show great variety in the habitats in which they can live.
Like tamarins, marmosets are among the smallest primates, with average head and body lengths between 7 and 7 ½ inches. They weigh between 8 and 9 ½ ounces with the males being slightly larger than the females. The coat, or pelage, of the marmoset is a blotchy brown, grey, and yellow. They also have white ear tufts and long banded tails. Unlike many other New World primates, marmosets do not have a prehensile tail. Their faces have pale skin with a white blaze on the forehead. At birth, infants have brown and yellow coats and develop the ear tufts as they age. In form, members of the callitrichid family, marmosets resemble other primates that cling vertically to trees. The forelimbs are shorter than the hind limbs, but most locomotion is quadrupedal, meaning all four limbs are specialized for walking and climbing. The hands and feet resemble those of squirrels. The thumb and big toe are not opposable. The surfaces of the hands and feet are long relative to the digits. Additionally, all of the digits except the big toe, called a hallux, have sharp claws, not the flattened nails found in many other primates. Callitrichids use these claws to dig into the bark of trees. Callitrichines also are unique in having enlarged, chisel-shaped incisors and specialized digestive systems for their diet.
Common marmosets have a complex mating system. It was thought that they were monogamous; however, polygamy has also been observed. Nevertheless, most mating is monogamous. Even in groups with two breeding females, the subordinate female often mates with males from other groups. The gestation period lasts for 5 months, and females are ready to breed again around 10 days after giving birth. Their inter-birth intervals last 5 months, and they give birth twice a year, commonly to two non-identical twins. Because of this, females have high demands during pregnancy and lactation, and need help from the other members of the family. Infants are weaned at 3 months. At 15 months, they reach adult size and are sexually mature but can’t reproduce until social conditions are adequate.
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