How Small is the Smallest Monkey?

The Pygmy Marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) is the world’s smallest monkey. Smallest MonkeyIt measures 5.5 to 6.3 in (15 to 16 cm). However this measurement does not include the tail, which measures 5.9 to 7.9 in (15 to 20 cm). The male Pygmy Marmoset weighs 4.9 oz (140 grams) and the females 4.2 oz (120 grams).

Physical Attributes

The monkey’s coat is a yellowish orange. The ringed tail is almost as large as the animal itself. Just like other callitrichids, the Pygmy Marmoset is endowed with claws rather than nails (except on the big toe).


The monkey is classified as omnivorous, consuming fruits insects and leaves. On occasion, the world’s smallest monkey has been seen to eat small reptiles. Because it’s small, the Pygmy can move up a tree very quickly and eat leaves. The main source of food is the sap from trees.

The monkey actually spends about 2/3 of the day tapping trees for the sap. To get the saps, the Pygmy utilizes incisors to make holes in the bark. Even when it is gouging tress it’s very hard to see owing to its size.


The Pygmy Marmoset employs several methods for communicating with its ilk. There are different signals used for alerts and incoming danger for its kin. The world’s smallest monkeys communicate by way of physical, chemical and vocal means.

For example, the trill is used for long distance communication. When there is danger, a clicking sound and whistle is used by the monkey. The Pygmy Marmoset uses other means for communicating over medium distances.

Where Pygmy Marmosets are Found

The Pygmy Marmoset is endemic in the rainforests of eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru and western Brazil. The monkeys are also found in parts of southeastern Colombia. The monkeys are also found in the other rainforests throughout South America. They have also been spotted in the Amazon basin.


The world’s smallest monkeys have been assigned its own genus (Cebuella). They do not belong to the genera of other marmosets, most of which are in the Callithrix and Mico genera.

The Pygmy Marmoset is known as the Dwarf Monkey. Other monikers include mono de bolsillo (pocket monkey) and leoncito (little lion). Aside from its size, the Pygmy Marmoset is noted for its soft fur (right around the head). The fur is also found on its cheeks.


The Pygmy Marmosets rarely give birth to identical twins. A notable trait is that only 1 in 15 females will nurture for the young. Most of the time, the siblings and the father nurture the infant.

The father carries the baby with him. The infant is given to the mother only when it is to be fed. Their life span varies but those kept in captivity can reach up to 11 years.

The Pygmy Marmoset is not on the list of endangered species. However their natural habitats (the rainforests) are being decimated. In this way their way of life is being threatened.

Although there are many claimants to the title of the world’s smallest monkeys, the Pygmy Marmoset is really the one. Not only is it the littlest monkey, but it is also one of the tiniest primates.

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