The Tiny But Mighty Finger Monkey

Interesting facts about finger monkey and some cute photos of them

One for the Guinness Book of Records, a monkey the size of a human finger! Yes, you read it right. The name of this primate – Finger Monkey. There are also two alternative names of this kind – “a pocket monkey” and “a tiny lion”. Looking at their photos, we understand why this creature has such a name. Indeed, they look too adorable to resist when they hold one of your fingers when you try to caress them. [cuteness overload]

B1: Hey brother, how do you feel? Are you alright?
B2: Not so well. I think Gulliver is tightening his grip on me.

Warning! Don’t be deceived by finger monkeys’ cuteness! If provoked, they will counter by using their extremely sharp claws on you.

Enough of the introduction, it’s about time to present these tiny but mighty finger monkeys.


Description of the kind

These apes belong to the family of Callitrichidae, species Cebuella, gender C. pygmaea. Cebuella pygmaea from Latin means a tiny marmoset or a pygmy marmoset. A size of an adult monkey achieves only from 4.3 to 5.9 inches [oh, it’s the size of my hand!], let alone a tail from 7 to 9 inches long. As a rule, male’s body is longer. The maximum weight of a male is 5 ounces, and of a female is 3-4 ounces. [it’s just like an average apple or a small orange]

This is what we call Synchronized Gymnastic.

Finger monkey has almond-shaped eyes and a furry body. It has a mixed coloration: grey, brown, golden and black. Its belly and paws are beige and orange. A tail has black rings that are specific for this kind only; there are also white stripes on their head. This kind has a mane like a lion does, thus it explains one of its names.

Teeth and small claws of Cebuella pygmaea are very sharp. The small paws help to climb on tops of trees and spring from one tree to another one. [I bet I would be awestruck to hear that]

Thanks to the strong legs, marmosets can cover up to two meters high.

They sleep in tree hollows. The sounds, which pygmy marmosets give out, resemble birds singing. Talking to each other, monkeys chirp fast like birds and twitter, whistle, and shriek in fear.

Just be careful with me and don’t you ever dare to let go of me.

Life span and habitat

The marmoset’s life span is about 10-15 years. However, in captivity their life can last 25 years thanks to the right care and rational nutrition.

A natural habitat of the finger monkey is forests of Amazon, Peru, Ecuador or Columbia. In a word, the animals prefer wet and warm climate. They live in trees and rarely come down.

A couple of centimeters more and I’ll be on top of this Skycraper... 
Just like my idol King Kong.


The finger monkey is an omnivorous. A natural habitat of the finger monkey is represented by thick trees with crowns full of insects: bugs, spiders, butterflies, and grasshoppers. Thus, they are the main diet for these animals. The strongest and bravest species eat bigger animals: frogs, snails or lizards, but it needs to come down for that purpose. They don’t mind eggs of small birds if they can find them in tree crowns. In addition, finger monkeys drink tree sap and eat tree gum biting into tree bark with their sharp incisors in order to get some. They can also eat nectar and fleshy fruit.

Tiny marmosets drink a lot of fresh water that they find on shoots or flowers. Vitally important vitamins for finger monkeys are A and D3. They got them from the sun or plants that they eat. From tree gum, they got calcium, which is another important mineral for them.

In a natural habitat, a finger monkey has a schedule that is similar to a human child’s one and is as follows:

  • Morning: getting up and having breakfast during the first 30-90 minutes.
  • Time for playing and resting.
  • Lunch: Eating insects.
  • Day: Afternoon rest, self-care, playing.
  • Having a snack.
  • Having dinner.
  • Returning to the roost.

[I start feeling like being a finger monkey in my next life]


I’m dying of hunger. got to get hold of that big ripe banana.

Way of life

Cebuella pygmaea are social animals. The main part of population lives in a troop. A troop of tiny marmosets has up to 6-9 animals. As a rule, it consists of a male, a female and monkey cubs. A few generations may live in one troop, but there is only one dominant male in each troop. Strangers are not welcome – the leader proves domination in fighting. [I wish I could see such a fight of these mighty creatures]

A territory spreads over 0,5 ha2 for one family. As the resources are depleted, finger monkeys move to other areas. Two troops never live within one place.

Members of a troop talk to each other. Marmosets exchange information through whistle, gnashing, trills and through visual signals. The signal depends on a type of a transmitted message. For example, a loud scream means danger.

No matter what, I’ll try to cling on this finger with my dear life.


A female has freedom of choosing a partner or even more than one (polyandry). An estrous cycle repeats each 27-28 days. During an estrus the female lifts the tail and shows the genitals. [need to remember this style] The male answers with snorting and licks the vulva. During this period the male follows the female slowly 0,5-1,5 meters at a distance, cuddling branches, imitating all her moves. Such behavior strengthens the libido. The dominant male tries not to let other males mate with his female. Mating happens at any time and in any place. On the third month of pregnancy, the female becomes aggressive to other members of the group. A breeding season may take place at any time of a year; peaks of birth happen in May-June and October-January. Puberty: by 15-18 months. Pregnancy: lasts 135-146 days.

A female bears children once a year (rarely twice a year). As a rule, two monkey cubs are born at once. Only an elder female of a family may reproduce. Upbringing is the function of all members of the troop. As a rule, one baby may be brought up by 5 adults. The reason lies in spending the most time on a father’s back or on the back of another member of the family. Such solution is due to necessity of protection against predators (snakes, birds, cats). However, only 67% of newborn monkey cubs survive.

The prioritized concern of a mother is breastfeeding; a father and younger females solve other care issues. Offspring of finger monkeys differ from parents. Their body is coloured in yellow, and on the back, there is a black mark. The head of a newborn monkey cub is grey and they have fur around their ears. In a month after their birth, monkey cubs molt. Then they get their parent’s colour.

Life in captivity

Finger monkeys adapt in captivity better than other apes kinds. They lead an active lifestyle and are keen on playing. Such marmosets need to be fed with fruit, vegetables, insects, and chicken. You can use infant formulas as dietary supplement for them. Pet shops may have lizards and snails, which finger monkeys find delicious. This kind of monkeys should be kept in a cage or an aviary with lots of snags, lianas, plants. The size of the cage should be big enough for the animal to run and move freely. It is necessary to equip it with a hollow or a special house as monkeys will not sleep in a cage. You don’t have to create special conditions for breeding. They can breed well if they have the second half. However, they might get depressed living without one. When buying, you should pay attention to the breath and skin condition of a finger monkey. They should not have any wheezing or cough. A healthy finger monkey’s fur is smooth, without bald spots and boils.


This kind of apes is not on the edge of extinction. Nevertheless, many finger monkeys die from predation. In addition, people catch them for black-market sale no matter whether it is an adult or a cub. Deforestation also has a negative effect on pygmy marmosets’ number. Reduction of living space causes population reduction as such animals can breed only if a troop has its own territory.

Now I see more problems coming our way. The Boss wanted us to be the main 
course in their Exotic Food Festival.


29 thoughts on “The Tiny But Mighty Finger Monkey

  1. betchai

    they look so cute, but if they are that small, i may be afraid to hold them, since they may feel so fragile.

  2. emzkie

    wow they are so cute!! i want one please! lol. id been hearing about this pygmy marmoset on TV i think its that Diego and Dora show. hehehe

  3. Shengkay in?..true to life?…hahaha..parang ayawko maniwala pa eh no..
    hindi nman sya tarsier no?
    very rare…

  4. Algene

    oh am gee!!!!!! they are the cutest!!!!! wish I could see one in person! I bet I will be awe struck! 🙂 oh really viewing their photos over and over today! 🙂

  5. rona

    oh gosh i didn't even realized there are monkeys this tiny. they sure looks very cute and fragile.

  6. Lainy

    they're pretty cute…those hands are just unbelievable…some of them look like it was photoshop though.

  7. Engkantandang Malikot

    A monkey with the size of a finger? Really tiny huh but they are cute and looks very playful 😉

  8. Mari Bella

    Wow! are they real? I never seen a monkey with this size of a finger. This is awesome!

  9. Monkey Lover

    These fingers monkeys are cute and adorable but can get aggressive if you don’t feed them or make them angry. It is just part of their nature.

  10. Wes Ornick

    Here we go again, I love seeing and reading all the technical data on amazing creatures I really was unaware of existing like finger monkeys, but again these are extreme exotics. I have grown up around various feline, canine, amphibian, reptile, fish, frog, snake, lizard, tortoise///primates are probably the worst thing to invest in. I have had a friend with a Capuchin monkey. I even work with raptors. We can try but even the most die-hard animal lover should not try to get these as “pets”. Everyone wants a cute and loveable pet to call their own and these have not been domesticated. Knowing their living and daily behaviors does not mimic their life. You cannot replicated the humidity and all the life items necessary and crucial in their daily activities. if a dog or puma needs 40+ miles a day to run and you dont give it to them, they can suffer not just in their bones but joints, muscles, tendons. Carrying these guys around to show off is not like being in a tree and climbing about. they do not get to use their adaptations and body functions as they should. Many can rarely or adequately care for a fish, let alone cat or dog…all species and breed specific with certain health and developmental issues, tendencies and error/issues….may be cute but leave them in the wild 🙁 if they get sick vets will not know how to treat them. yes, they are primates but birds alone do not do well in injury or surgery as there is virtually no data on the books, we just dont have their history or understanding of them as much as we like to keep telling ourselves.

    1. admin Post author

      I’m very glad that you found the data useful. I also wish people were more informed about how to provide their pets with best care. I’ve only seen finger monkeys once in my life and decided to learn them better. I’ve met poisonous snakes face-to-face three times and luckily we always left each other amicably 🙂 thus, I respect people who can deal with them.

  11. Just me

    Thank you for the post! I’ve never heard of finger monkeys before! they are sooo cute!!! but, you are right, it’s better to let them live in their natural habitat. I believe most people won’t provide them with adequate care. we’d better just enjoy watching them on TV 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *