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Cotton-top tamarin

Saguinus oedipus

Cottontops 1119 LR 18 1
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Primates
Family: Callitrichidae

One of the most endangered primates in the world, the cotton-top tamarin is a small New World monkey native to the tropical forests of northwestern Colombia, South America.

As omnivores, cotton-top tamarins eat a wide variety of food in the wild from fruits, leaves and nectar to insects, spiders and lizards.

Interesting facts!

  • When moving through their habitat, these tamarins run along and jump between tree branches using all of their four legs.
  • If a cotton-top is excited or feeling danger, they try to look bigger to predators or other tamarins by raising the fluffy hair on their head.
  • Cotton-top tamarins play an important role in spreading seeds in their native habitat. They commonly eat fairly large seeds that have a high success rate for germination.


This tamarin is a Critically Endangered species, with deforestation being their greatest threat. They have already lost most of their habitat through forest clearing for timber, charcoal, human settlement, agricultural land and industry.

The cotton-top tamarin population within European zoos is cooperatively managed, and our females are part of the EAZA ex-situ breeding programme (EEP).