Keepers at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium have come up with a novel way of ensuring their troop of monkeys stay fit and healthy.
They have introduced a weekly weigh-in for the miniature primates to monitor their condition and to confirm each of them is receiving just the right amount of food.
The scale sessions take place three times a week and each of the seven monkeys have their individual weights recorded so keepers can keep a record of their condition.
Blue Reef’s Anna Pellegrino said: “Initially it was quite difficult to persuade them to get onto the scales. That was until we came up with the idea of smearing them with some of their favourite tree gum as a special treat.
“Now they’re virtually queuing up to get weighed; especially our two black tail marmosets Rocky and Frodo who also seem to enjoy all the attention.
“Our pygmy marmoset, Alfie, can still be a bit of a challenge though as he is quite shy and takes a bit of cajoling,” she added.
Amazing Amazon is home to seven monkeys. All have either been rescued from unsuitable conditions or made homeless after their owners could no longer look after them.Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest monkey species and measure less than 30cms including their tails. They are found in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. It is thought their diminutive size allows them to reach the upper branches of trees safely.
Common marmosets live in social family groups and have a strict hierarchy ranking.
Young and old adults share in the care of the young, unusually for primates the female nearly always gives birth to non-identical twins which the male then carries on his back.
Tamarins are among the smallest of the primates, often weighing no more than half-a-kilogramme and with a total length of just 30cms.
The cottontop tamarin gets its name from the white crest of hair on its head and chest. In German-speaking countries they are known as ‘Liszt monkeys’ due to their resemblance to the famous composer.
Issued by Blue Reef. For more information please contact Anna Pellegrino on 0191 258 1031.