We are thrilled to share that our Zoo family grew by four (tiny) legs, four eyes and two tails last week. Cotton-top tamarin Luna gave birth to twins overnight on January 8!
While we are unsure of the sex of the babies at this time, they appear to be healthy and showing natural newborn behaviors. Our animal care team suspected that Luna was pregnant as her weekly weight was trending upwards, and they were met with the happy confirmation when they spotted the tiny twins holding onto mom during morning checks!
Luna, who is 7 years old, and her mate Cricket, who is 21 years old, live in a habitat in Rainforest Revealed with their son, Rudy, who is just over a year old. Rudy and his two late siblings were born in November of 2021. Sadly, his siblings unexpectedly passed away – one just days after being born and the other 6 months later.
Twin births are most common in cotton-top tamarins. The babies have been observed hanging out on the backs of Luna and Cricket, and their brother, Rudy, has showed a lot of interest in his younger siblings. He was even spotted grooming one of them!
“Cotton-top tamarins live in family groups,” said Michelle Ferguson, the Area Supervisor of Rainforest Revealed. “We are thrilled that this pair has been successful at breeding!”
Animal care staff recently began working with Luna on ultrasound training to make the process voluntary and as stress-free as possible. “While we never got to the point of doing a real ultrasound for this pregnancy, we feel confident that we would be able to do it for a future pregnancy of hers. This would help confirm a pregnancy and help us monitor the babies,” said Michelle.
If you visited the Zoo in the week after the babies were born, you likely noticed a green shade cloth covering the front of their habitat. This was placed in an effort to give the family privacy and prevent guests from getting too close, banging on the glass or being too loud. While this tarp is no longer up, stanchions remain in the front of the habitat to give a little extra room to our growing cotton-top family unit.
Every Zoo birth is special, and this one is no different. Cotton-top tamarins are critically endangered due to habitat loss and the pet trade. Among the most endangered primates on the planet, their population is decreasing, meaning every individual is crucial to the future of the species.
We will continue to monitor our cotton-top tamarins closely while giving them as much privacy as possible. Keep an eye out for more baby updates on our social media channels!
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.