Being a small monkey in the big jungle can be tough, and having newborns in tow makes life even more risky. Tiny tamarins navigate the Amazon rainforest with their ever-growing families and do everything they can to make sure their babies survive.
Golden lion tamarins find pregnancy stressful. Females in their final trimester have high levels of cortisol, the hormone that the body produces when the animal feels stress. First-time mothers get more stressed out than tamarins that have had babies in the past. These monkeys typically give birth to twins twice a year.
Baby tamarins are born with their eyes open and immediately clamber on to their mother’s back. This is their home for the next three months, but as time goes on they begin to explore more and more of the rainforest.
Within 90 days of birth, mothers begin to wean their young. Rather than leave them to find food for themselves, mothers feed their babies food they wouldn’t be able to find for themselves. This is called provisioning, and young tamarins are given foods high in protein and fat to help them adjust to a life without their mother’s milk.
Tamarins stay in family groups even after the young reach maturity. They are known to share food within their group, often donating treats to their close family members and offspring.
Image from flickr.com/photos/bartvandorp