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Golden Lion Tamarin

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Callitrichidae
  • Genus: Leontopithecus
  • Species: rosalia
Fun Fact

In general, female golden lion tamarins give birth to twins. All the members of the group will assist in taking care of the babies. The male also helps in caring for the young.

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About Golden Lion Tamarins

Golden lion tamarins are a small monkey of the primate order. Marmosets and tamarins differ from other monkeys in their small size and in having claws instead of flat nails on most of their digits. These claws help the small monkeys cling tree trunks and branches. Their fur is reddish-orange and the fur around the bare face is longer and darker, which is the reason behind their name. Their body is about 13-15 inches long and their tail can be up to 16 inches long. They weigh only 25 ounces.

The canopy provides safety for the tamarins from their predators. Their predators include hawks, other raptors, cats and large snakes. If a predator is spotted by a member of the group they give an alarm call to other animals. They have different calls for different sources of threat.

Golden lion tamarins are a social species. They form small groups of up to fourteen individuals, led by a breeding pair. The group patrols a consistent territory of around 400,000 square meters (100 acres). Fighting between groups is avoided by vocalizations, scent marking and “ritual encounters.” By night, the tamarins sleep in abandoned nesting holes in trees.

Golden Lion Tamarins in the Wild


They live in the high canopy of the forest with dense tangles of vines.


Golden lion tamarins inhabit the Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil. In the state of Rio De Janeiro, they live in a protected area of swampy forests called the Poço (POH-so) das Antas Biological Reserve.


These omnivorous monkeys feed mainly on fruit, insects, and small lizards.

Population Status

Golden lion tamarins are “endangered” because logging and agriculture have resulted in small unconnected areas, each area only capable of supporting a small number of groups. One major result of this fragmentation is inbreeding.  Long term inbreeding can cause extinction. They currently inhabit only about 2% of their original range.

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