The Red Handed Tamarin is also known as the Negro Tamarin, the Midas Tamarin and the Red Footed Tamarin. This active little monkey is popular as a pet and is also seen in zoos throughout the world.
The Red Handed Tamarin is playful, curious and social. In the wild, these wonderful monkeys live in small groups generally consisting of six members, though groups as small as two and as large as fifteen are not uncommon. The groups are comprised of unrelated males and females of varying ages. These groups typically exhibit polyandry, though instances of monogamy and polygyny have been noted. Their social behavior extends to the raising of young, which is done by all members of the group. In many primates, only the female mothers raise their young, not so with the Red Handed Tamarin. Males and unrelated females assist the mother in the rearing of young. The Red Handed Tamarin is a highly active monkey. There is little aggression seen within groups, even among sexually mature males. In general, group members tolerate each other well and work as a group. They are excellent climbers and jumpers, moving about very quickly. In captivity, they should be provided with plenty of room for running about and should have access to climbing. Like many primates, they are intelligent creatures and should not be allowed to grow bored. Curiously, many Tamarins and Marmosets do not seem to enjoy toys; the Red Handed Tamarin is no exception. The Red Handed Tamarin is a meticulous groomer. Grooming behavior is displayed in groups as well as individuals. The Red Handed Tamarin is diurnal, but it is not uncommon for them to nap in the day and spend evening hours within tree cavities. They are rather territorial and are known to mark their territories with gland secretions and urines. If they feel threatened, they will shriek, bear teeth and erect their manes. The Red Handed Tamarin has an excellent sense of hearing, in addition to an exceptional sense of smell.
The Red Handed Tamarin is not a large monkey. They typically weight between 400 and 550 grams, measuring anywhere from 20.5 to 28 centimeters in length. They have long, non-prehensile tails (31.5 - 44cm), which help them maintain their excellent balance. Males and females have no noticeable differences. They have specialized scent glands around the genitalia and mid-chest areas. These glands are used to mark territories and convey information between groups and individuals. They have claws on all their fingers and toes, except the big toe. They do not have opposable thumbs. Their bodies and faces are black. They have long hairs on their face and lack the whitish hair common to many tamarins around the mouth. Their hands and feet are generally a bright red-gold, though they can range from an orangey-red to yellow. Their backs are spectacled with orange and reddish hairs.
The Red Handed Tamarin is from South America, seen in French Guiana, Brazil, Suriname and Guyana. They are commonly found in trees, with small crowns within the tropical rainforest. Habitat destruction is a constant threat to the livelihood of this wonderful monkey.