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#146 Cotton-top Tamarin

Critically Endangered

These little primates are only about a pound, and the size of a squirrel. They don't have opposable thumbs or a prehensile tail. They do have sharp almost claw-like nails which helps them climb trees. For the first week, most of the care for the young falls on the mother, but after that the male does more, especially in carting them around. They typically have twins. They are endemic to northwestern Columbia where much of their habitat has been lost to deforestation. Pet trade is also a huge problem for them. Back in the 1960's and 1970's approximately 20,000-30,000 of them were imported to the US for biomedical research. They are the only other species known to spontaneously develop colon cancer apparently. While they can live up to 24 years, they typically only live 13 in the wild. They have been seen displaying altruistic and spiteful behaviours. They also have a complex language with what seems to be grammar. It seems to take about 20 weeks for the young to be able to learn how to speak properly.

It is interesting, because when looking at all of the pictures of these, I would have guessed (if I didn't already know) that they were more about 25 pounds, maybe even bigger. It is so hard to guess based on photographs. I know my paintings, except the ones which I specifically make life-sized, give no frame of reference for size, but I still like knowing how big an animal is. It helps to make them more real in my mind. That is why I like a website I found quite a while ago that tells you how a measurement of weight, volume, length, etc., compares to other things. With that, I learned that these guys weigh about twice what a hamster weighs. How big I would have guessed them to be was said to be about twice the weight of a Dachshund or half that of a Dalmatian, but then I'm not sure they've met many Dachshunds. There are just some breeds that truly want to be round. Our Beagle wanted to be a big ball, but unlike the Dachshunds I've known, we were able to keep him in good shape. He certainly tried to ruin his figure though. We had to keep chairs pushed in or he'd jump onto the table. He figured out how to move them unfortunately, and would push them up against the counter so even food up there was not safe. People think that beagles aren't smart, but they are they just have to feel that what you tell them to do is really worth the bother.

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