Silvery marmoset (Mico argentatus)

silvery marmoset

Behind Marwell Hall at the top of the grassy bank with other primates.

Fast facts

Status Least Concern

Size Head and body: 20-23cm. Tail: 30-34cm

Weight 270-435g

Gestation 4 ½ - 5 months

Young 2

Life span Up to 16 years in captivity

What do I eat?

These animals have a rather varied diet, as they will feed on fruits, flowers, nectar, plant exudates (sap, gum, latex) and other animals such as frogs, snails, small lizards, spiders and insects.

Silvery marmosets have specialised teeth which help them to gouge out small areas in tree trunks, branches and vines to feed on the gum and sap from the plant.

Where do I live?

Silvery marmosets are found in Brazil in South America, and will live in lowland primary and secondary rainforest habitats.


Silvery marmosets live in family groups of around 4-15 individuals, and each group is lead by a dominant male and female and it is only this pair that will breed. The other marmosets in the group will help them to care for the young by carrying and protecting them.

These animals can breed twice a year and will often have twins. The father will carry the twins around and will pass them back to the mother so that she can feed them. Young silvery marmosets are weaned from their mother by 6 months old, and are mature by 1-2 years old.


The natural predators of the silvery marmoset are not well known, but it is thought that they may face threats from wild cats, snakes and birds of prey, which are known to hunt other marmoset species.


The main threat to silvery marmosets in the wild is deforestation. The loss of habitat and fragmentation of areas in South America is caused by more roads being built, logging, more land wanted for farming and cattle-ranching. These animals have also been known to have been trapped for the illegal pet trade.

So far these animals have been able to thrive in disturbed and fragmented areas of forest, and even known to look for food in areas that have been transformed to farmland! Yet they will need to be monitored and researched by conservation programmes in the future, to see if there are any long term effects to these small populations in these fragmented areas.

Did you know?

Silvery marmosets belong to a group known as the ‘bare-eared’ marmosets.

Marmosets (and tamarins) are different to other ‘new world monkeys’ as they are all small in size, and have claws instead of nails on all of their fingers.  They also have claws on every toe except the big toe!


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Amazing day at Marwell zoo, topped by feeding the giraffes. Husband and I fed 7 giraffes by hand. I got sneezed on by kwame, the large male - brilliant!! Loved little Ruby. Very hands on. Not rushed at all. Thank you Megan, for making this an amazing experience for us both…Cathryn, 4th February 2016