Cute little monkeys, they are. Formally known as a pygmy marmoset, a finger monkey or a thumb monkey is colloquially called as such since it can literally hang onto one of your fingers without falling. How crazy is that!
No wonder, it is known as the world’s smallest monkey. They really are super small. You can’t say a NO for letting them to be one of your cute pet. But wait, legality could be something to care about!
Finger Monkey started to have the nicknames after photos, which show baby finger monkeys comfortably hanging and holding the fingers of the animal shelter or zoo caretakers, spread all over the world and on the internet. Aside from the aforementioned names, pygmy marmosets are also nicknamed as pocket monkeys due to the fact that they can be placed inside the shirts’ pockets. Well, cute names too, right?
What is a Finger Monkey?
First off- what on earth is a finger monkey? Fortunately, it sounds pretty close to what it is. A finger monkey, or pocket monkey is a pygmy marmoset. Pocket monkeys grow around six inches tall, while finger monkeys are a rarer species in which the average size is about the size of a finger. Finger monkeys originate in exotic regions, meaning they need special care and attention.
Scientific Information of Pygmy Marmoset
Just like all other living organisms, taxonomists have also given the pygmy marmoset its own scientific name. Pocket Monkeys is classified as a primate, belonging to the family of Callitrichidae and being identified as Cebuella pygmaea for genus and species, respectively. Furthermore, it is divided into two subspecies and these are:
Eastern Pygmy Marmosets that are scientifically named as Cebuella pygmaea niveiventris
Northern or Western Pygmy Marmosets with scientific names Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea
These primates are mostly found in South American rain forests, especially in the wilderness of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Apparently, pygmy marmosets are among the strangest animals in the world, but they have eventually become pets that people love to but and take care.
Physical Description of Finger Monkey
As the world’s smallest monkey, of course, you would expect that the finger monkey stands and weighs like a puny living creature. The male thumb monkey weighs around 140 grams while the female primate weighs 120 grams and becomes a little heavier when she carries her baby finger monkeys. Although they have different weights, both pocket monkeys can grow up to 15 inches from head to tail. The cost of Finger Monkey varies depending on many factors.
When it comes to their fur, the pygmy marmosets mesmerize us with their multicolored fur that may come in the combinations of brown, black, gold and gray. The areas under their bodies are either color orange or yellow, having black, almond-shaped eyes.
One interesting fact about their physical body is their ability to turn their heads at an angle of 180 degrees. Furthermore, they have nails that look like sharp claws and long tails that help them in their balance.
Most of them live in the trees of the wild Amazon but have been domesticated to become home pets or zoo animals. Walking on their four limbs, they effortlessly leap from tree to tree and rely on gum trees, which are part of their diet. Pygmy marmosets also consume flowers, fruits and small reptiles like lizards.
Social Behavior of the Finger Monkey
In most cases, pygmy marmosets live with a partner or a small group with three to nine members, having a maximum of either two adult females or two adult males as well as one pregnant female and her infants. After giving birth to her infants, a female finger monkey can conceive again after 3 months to 2 years or more. Apparently, baby finger monkeys stay in the same group after their mother has given birth twice.
They are generally monogamous in nature, staying with one partner for as long as they live. Female pocket monkeys usually deliver two infants simultaneously, occurring 76 percent. Single births, on the other hand, sometimes happen at 16 percent. And in rare cases, there are triple births that only occur by eight percent.
Just like human parents, the father and mother pygmy marmoset are hands on as they take care of their newborn thumb monkey. The females feed while the males carry the infants on their backs and secure the safety of the family.
Finger Monkey Family Dynamics
Finger monkeys are a little different from normal mammals. Generally, mates in the animal kingdom are called partners, as the biological parents usually separate to their own separate ways after the children are given birth too. Man if only it were that easy- because they usually leave the kids to raise themselves as well. (No screaming toddlers yay!) However finger monkeys take after humans, or vice versa. I do not really know which one came first. Anyway, finger monkey mates stay together to assist with the raising of the Pygmy Marmoset offspring. Generally, over eighty percent of pocket monkeys stay in family units of six to nine members including both genders. After all it takes a village to raise a child, and young finger monkeys need to be fed every two hours- an exhausting endeavor.
Mortality rates among finger monkeys is down to around twenty-five percent, with most infants falling off a parent’s body or falling from the nest while when traveling from location to location. Parents protect their children in different ways- each keeping the infants from some sort of catastrophe. Following birth, males carry the children on their backs to give the mothers much needed rest. Females in turn feed and clean the newborns to ensure disease does not take their lives. This only occurs until the kids can look after themselves.
Babbling or Vocalizing Of Finger Monkeys
The babble or vocalization of an infant pygmy marmoset is an important aspect of its development and of keeping its relationships with other members of the family. As the newborn primate grows, the way it makes it babbles also changes, eventually sounding like the vocalizations of an adult finger monkey.
An interesting fact about the vocalizations of baby finger monkeys is their similarities with the babble talks of human babies. When the infant monkey produces a babble sound, it signifies that it needs attention and care just like when a human infant makes a sound.
Communication Abilities and Skills
Pocket monkeys are also for their communication abilities and skills, producing different kinds of vocal sounds and employing physical signals to relay messages to one another. When they are just near each other, they typically trill. But if they are far from each other, they utilize fast notes to communicate.
Moreover, a thumb monkey is capable of whistling as it whistles to warn its family members about an incoming danger. When finger monkeys are in a group, these primates listen to the calls of their leader. But as they grow up, the system of calls changes especially when they have chosen a new leader to lead their pack.
Aside from the baby finger monkeys‘ babble and the adults’ whistle, a female thumb monkey has her own set communication skills when she is ovulating. Generally, her genitals do not swell during ovulation. However, if she does not show too much aggressiveness towards her partner, then that can tell that she is already on her ovulating stage.
The male finger monkey rubs scents, which come from the anus, chest and genitals, leaving chemical signs about the female’s current reproductive state. Moreover, the world’s smallest monkey does visual actions like back-arching, piloerection and strutting when it wants to show dominance or when it feels scared or threatened.
Growing Population of Finger Monkey
There are no strict laws when it comes to domesticating pocket monkeys since they belong to a large and growing population. Environmental organization International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed these creatures as species that are not in danger of extinction. If a person plans on taking care a finger monkey, then he or she must be capable of providing its needed maintenance since the animal is known to experience anxiety or depression when it is separated from its main group.
Finger Monkey facts
There are lots of little facts about finger monkeys. Pocket monkeys, as they are also called,are found in evergreen forests, near the rivers edges. They are classified as Gummivores, meaning that this species often feed on the gum of trees. Pocket monkeys have a blend of grey, golden brown and black fur on their backs, whilst their underbody contains yellow, orange and tawny fur. The unique signifiers lie in the black rings that encircle the monkeys’ tail and face, the white flecks on the checks and a startling white vertical line among the eyes. Most finger monkeys weigh in at over 100 grams, while they remain 4.6-6 inches in height in the body. The tail of these monkeys is necessary for balance is longer than the body. In general it has been noted that the males of this species tend to be smaller than their female counterparts.
Female finger monkeys bear children twice a year, or about every six months. Many times mothers give birth to a set of twins- in fact monkeys born alone only account for 16% of finger monkey births. About 8% of mothers actually give birth to triplets, leaving 76% of births twins. Females have the potential to carry four successive baby litters, while the pregnancy period varies from 114-190 days. Due to this high rate of natural birth, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a minimum concern. This species is not at risk yet, however, finger monkey pet trade and habitat loss have the potential to expedite this species extinction in the natural world.
The average finger monkey, when fully grown, weighs less than a stick of butter- around 55 ounces. Their tails are longer than the body, about six to seven inches by itself. Pocket monkeys often communicate via trills and physical gestures, and tend to live around 12 years in the wild and about 18 in captivity. Finger monkeys can move their heads 180-degrees, and jump about fifteen feet up in mid-air.
Exotic pets – A finger monkey?
Exotic pets are something worth mentioning. After all how many people can say they have a sugar glider, or a “tamed” wolf living among their family peacefully? Not many that’s for sure. Now while the term exotic usually is thought of as being from a far off distant country in the middle of the wilderness, this is not the case. Not only are most exotic pets not born or raised in the wild, many of them are illegal in most areas of the United States. Before considering whether to buy a pet monkey versus the domesticated house cats, there are a few things to keep in mind while shopping. First and foremost always check the local and state laws for your area. You would be surprised as to what you can and cannot keep in rural areas versus urban settings. Another thing you might want to keep in mind is the long-term costs of the animal you are going to be looking into. Some animals might seem like a great deal up front, but long-term care such as veterinary visits and food can take a lot of money, especially when it comes to less common animals. The last thing you should research thoroughly is the temperament of the animal you get- is this animal going to fit well into your life? Easily trained? I remember getting a blue heeler from a breeder a few years ago- not only was he not a full blood- he had coyote in him! Jack grew up to be a real hand full, constantly full of energy and my family considered giving him away. Luckily through some research I learned that the blue heeler in him would calm down after about a year or two of him growing into maturity. Jack stayed in the family and is great with kids now, but it is something I wish I had known beforehand.
A Finger Monkey as a Pet
Having exotic animals is always a lot more taxing than most people realize when they first start looking into buying one. So let’s go everything you need to look into, or get before starting your search for a tiny pocket monkey to bring a little chaos to your life.
- Many states make owning a finger monkey illegal, due to potential diseases the animals may carry.
- Ensure the state and local city laws to ensure you can keep a monkey in your area.
- If it is illegal- don’t own one. Come on guys common sense. If you are caught owning an illegal animal you can face jail time or fines. Plus the poor animal involved is going to either end up in a shelter or someplace weird.
- Many areas that do allow finger monkeys require you to obtain a license.
- Finger monkey breeders are a rarity, so ensure their credentials, and search for previous customers. You want to ensure that you are buying from a credited breeder.
- This particular species of monkey should include black specks in a creamy color of fur. The have a fur type similar to a lion mane. Ensure that the monkey you receive matches proper descriptions as well as species specifications so you are not getting duped.
- Remember this is a wild animal. No matter if you purchase from a dealer or not- finger monkeys were never domesticated and therefore can act wild. Getting irritated or hungry can cause this exotic pet to be provoked and attack.
- Ensure that the monkey you receive comes with documentation of vaccinations, and has no repeated pattern of hostility to humans, or kids if you have them.
Make sure you get a full, written history of the finger monkey’s health to to ensure you are aware of diseases that could cause potential health problems in the future.
Finger Monkey Costs
Any exotic animal is going to be more expensive than the run of the mill cat adoption from the shelter down the street. Duh, that is kind of the point- to have a cute little animal that is a rarity for anyone to own. But your wallet is going to end up paying the price for uniqueness. As always when buying a less common house pet, like a finger monkey- the price varies based on health, age, gender, condition, shipping, size, breeder or even a unique color of fur. Based on the area that the monkey comes from the price for just the animal alone can range anywhere from $1500 to $4000, and for even rarer traits the price can raise even more. Makes you reconsider that $40 adoption fee for a kitten right? Pocket monkeys can be bought at a variety of stores, for example PetSmart, Janda Exotics, Poggi’s Animal House or check in with your local pet stores. Beyond just the animal be sure to factor in other expenses that are required to make the animal comfortable, ensure health and keep your house intact. Check out the descriptions of expenses below when you budget for your adorable hand held fuzz ball.
Pygmy marmosets are native to evergreen forests near rivers, making captivity not the most comfortable environment. For a parallel imagine living in the north with snow and cold weather, then moving south to 100 degree weather. Not pleasant. At all. Fortunately pet stores have adapted and have begun selling more complex, spacious cages for the more exotic benefits of the pet world. Cages can cost anywhere from $150-$400 depending on how complex the habitat is, how much square footage of space, the materials used and the time to create the cage if you get one custom made for your little finger monkey. Cages are not the only aspects you need to secure to be certain your new familial addition is comfortable in your home. Diet is crucial to the health and longevity of your adorable monkey. Finger monkeys eat
- Small lizards
- Flower Nectar
Not the most common of ingredients is it? Especially as lizards and insects are best if given fresh to ensure the monkey gets the best nutrients out of their prey. Fruit has to be purchased fresh, or frozen to reduce loss of money due to spoiling or molding fruits. Flowers wilt so those have to be relatively fresh to gain good nectar. Therefore do not be alarmed when you are spending anywhere from $35-$75 a month in food expenses alone.
General care of finger monkeys does follow along the lines that many pets need. Veterinary visits range upwards of $100 per visit, due to the specialty care that this species needs. Most vets that I’ve run across have never treated a finger monkey- so a clinic focusing on exotic species may be the best bet to find suitable, proper care. Training is another monetary consideration when buying a less common pet. Monkeys are most similar to humans, meaning they have complicated personalities. It is widely recommended that owners and pets take a training course so as to properly express handling and care techniques for a finger monkey. With training courses, generally comes a leash or harness, which is fairly inexpensive- mostly around $10. Ensure that the restraint you buy is actually for finger monkeys so the tiny mammal does not escape captivity and go wild. (Wish the same could be said about kids)
As with many less common pets, finger monkeys are social creatures- generally running in families of six or more in the wild. In captivity it is suggested that getting two or more pocket monkeys to guarantee mental health and they have a friend to talk too. Unless you plan and want monkey babies I would advise getting monkeys of the same sex, otherwise it’s just a jungle in your house! Speaking of jungles, shipping a finger monkey to your house can get pretty expensive, of course all relative to where the animal is coming from. Pocket Monkey shipping rates can range from $100 to $300 if you’re shipping through an airline, not to mention ground shipping costs. However there are always ways to cut back on overall expenses.
A Pet Monkey on the Cheap
Saving money is important. Everyone with a pet does it to ensure they can continue to take care of their animals as long as possible. With common household animals- maybe it is switching food or buying less toys. With finger monkeys it remains a little difficult to change their diet, as they require specific food to be in good health, and tend to only like certain things. Therefore these are the best money saving tips when purchasing rare animals that I could find:
- Buy food in mass. This is almost always cheaper than individual buys each month. Freeze fruit or consider housing small lizards or insects as well before handing them over to your tiny piece of the wild.
- Adopt via a non-profit firm. Even though these opportunities are rare- it is still possible to nab one when they do become available. Because finger monkeys are difficult to find a suggestion is to place yourself on an adoption waiting list.
- Buy online. Online shopping is always faster, and more frequently less expensive than other options- it eliminates the payment of employees and is fairly convenient. However be wary of scammers selling fake monkeys. I would suggest video conferencing before making the purchase to ensure the monkey is real, and to get a general idea of their health via appearance.
- Look for clearances, coupons and sales when buying generalized supplies. Toys, perches and construction materials for the finger monkey’s cage can be caught at great prices if one looks hard enough.
- Odd as it sounds- having friends is a great. Sterilized equipment is a great way to reuse items to make your monkey’s life more comfortable. Maybe your neighbor had a parakeet perch that she no longer uses. Perhaps your cousin knows a pet store owner that can help you out for some discounted items. Networking is important.
- Expert breeders can come with a lot of benefits, like good condition, safe and healthy little baby. The downside is they can be on the more expensive side, private arrangements may have to be made in regards to shipping and legal documents may be necessary for the animal to be handed over to you.
Is a Pet Monkey worth it?
There are always risks, in many different forms, to adopting an animal. While the risk is lower when accepting a domesticated breed into your home- some benefits outweigh costs when in regards to exotic animals. Finger monkeys need love, steadfast dedication, extreme patience and hard work in order to fully adapt and behave the way you want in your home. Keeping a pet for prolonged periods of time- such as the life span of a finger monkey is also it’s own challenge. When it comes to animals, the cost in monetary, worldly matters is never what is truly important, but rather how much you are willing to risk in order to add another family member.
A rise in finger monkey demand in the last few years is indicative of people wanting these adorable, exotic creatures as there own household pets. Pocket monkeys can be tamed, and are wildly cute, but beware the risks and educate yourself as fully as you can. Although having a tiny monkey hug your fingers when they get attached to you might be worth whatever risks there might be. Lastly, I will just leave you with the following video, and you can decide for yourself 🙂