What is a Finger Monkey?
The Finger Monkey, or Pocket Monkey as many prefer to call it, is said to be the tiniest monkey species and one of the smallest primates in the world. Its scientific name is Pygmy marmoset, and it’s a species that lives in exotic places, including – but not limited to – the evergreen rainforests of South America, in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and other places, where there is plenty of food. There, they pass their days jumping from one tree to another looking for food and enjoying freedom life.
The name Finger Monkey comes from the fact that they’re so small that they can cling to your finger like any bigger monkey would cling to a tree branch.
How Long Does a Finger Monkey Live?
Even though Finger Monkeys are tiny creatures, they do have a relatively long lifespan of 11-12 years on average when they’re living in their natural habitat. Many assume that living in the jungle is better for animals. That’s not always true, as Finger Monkeys tend to live longer outside the jungle, in zoos and households, where they can live until they reach 18.6 years old in average If taken care of properly. So, whilst living in captivity can be a living hell for other animals, the situation differs for Finger Monkeys.
When they are born, their height doesn’t pass 5-6 inches, including their tail, with an average weight of 15 g. These animals reach sexual maturity by the age of 12-16 months and become fully grown when they reach 2 years of age. That’s when their height reaches 13 to 14 inches, most of which taken by their tail, with a weight of 100 g.
The sad part is that only 25% of newborns reach adulthood. The rest of them die after falling from high heights since they live in tree holes near food sources.
Finger Monkeys aren’t that productive. All they do during their life is jumping, eating and breeding. That’s normal though as it’s the case for the vast majority of the jungle creatures.
Their food consists of gum, sap, etc. As for their sexual lives, Finger Monkeys produce offsprings every five to six months, and they’re not limited to specific mating seasons.
The Pygmy marmoset isn’t very social. They live in groups containing two to nine members, including one or two males and one or two females along with several offsprings. The situation differs within the group though, as all the members, even the siblings, take part in protecting the new babies.
Why is living in captivity better for Finger Monkeys?
Finger Monkeys have lower lifespans in the jungle because of two reasons, the first being natural conditions, and the second is the predators. Imagine being a tiny creature of 6 inches living in a place where even rocks are bigger than you, wouldn’t that be scary? That’s the case for Pygmy marmoset in their natural habitats, where they face natural disasters such as heavy rains and heat waves on a daily basis. Apart from infections and diseases caused by nature, these animals can face a lack of food, for which they are quite selective.
Get more details about the Finger Monkey Diet here.
The hardest part of living in the jungle is the predators that can attack Finger Monkeys at any given moment. Being 6-inch creatures, their survival chances are low, as most of the predators are far bigger and stronger than them, which makes life harder and breeding chances lower for them. Animals that can attack Finger Monkeys include climbing snakes, eagles and much more. These creatures have adapted over the years though, and they’re currently able to detect predators sneaking on them even from behind, as they can rotate their heads 180°.
Knowing that fact, many people believe that these animals are in extinction danger. That’s not correct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes Finger Monkeys’ conservative status as Low Concern. That’s because they exist in vast numbers and there’s no risk of immediate numbers decline for them.
Meanwhile, if they live in captivity, food, predators and natural conditions are no longer a problem, as people tend to take care of these creatures because of their looks. They have a decent life in Zoos as well, where zookeepers know how hard it is to keep them alive so they take special measurements to ensure that.
Knowing that Finger Monkeys have higher lifespans when kept in captivity, should you have one as a pet?
Being the cute creatures that they are, many people want to have them as pets companions, especially considering how adorable they are in most photographs where they gaze naively with their big eyes looking deep into your soul as if they were seeking companionship and safety from you. Just look at these photos, how can you resist such cuties?
I’m certain that Martin Buber was talking about the Pygmy marmoset’s eyes when he said that “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language“.
Despite being a species that’s not in extinction danger, it’s rare to find them in the market. That explains why their prices range from $1.500 to $4.000. To know more about the cost of Finger Monkeys, head to our Ultimate Finger Monkey Cost Guide and you’ll find everything you need there.
Keeping one isn’t easy though as they need special care. To raise a Finger Monkey, you need to create an environment that’s similar to their original habitat. That includes a large cage, where they can jump and cling to branches, a specific diet, and a special medical care.
Their food consists of tree gum, which is their favorite snack, along with sap, latex, insects and smaller lizards.
It’s mandatory to take medical care and vaccination seriously as well because these animals can catch any human disease, including cold, which makes them vulnerable in the human environment.
Taking care of a Finger Monkey can be a daunting task since they’re unpredictable, playful and naughty. Adult ones can be really aggressive when untrained. Taking care of one requires a lot of patience as they need some time to adjust to their new lifestyle in your home after spending their lives in the jungle. However, you can get a Pocket Monkey that was taken care of and trained by breeders.
For more details about getting a Finger Monkey as a pet, check our extensive guide here.
Finger Monkeys live up to 12-18 years on average and that, along with their cuteness, encourages many people to get them as pets expecting it to be an easy task. The reality is different. If you do decide to buy one, here’s a list of places where you can buy Finger Monkeys. Keep in mind that they’re living creatures and not some accessories though, and take care of them like you would do with any other pet, and remember what Anatole France said, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
If you have a Finger Monkey or want to buy one, do tell us your story in the comments, as we’re eager to hear it.
Wikipedia, Pygmy_marmoset: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_marmoset
MonkeyWorlds, Pygmy_marmoset https://www.monkeyworlds.com/pygmy-marmoset/
PetPonder, Fun Facts About Finger Monkey, https://petponder.com/finger-monkey