Red-Handed Tamarin - The Monkey with the Golden Touch
Saguinus midas - commonly called the red-handed tamarin, the Midas tamarin (you might have heard of King Midas who had the golden touch) or the golden-handed tamarin is a funny little New World Monkey whose body is all black save for the hair on its hands and feet which is a starkly contrasting yellow-gold, orange or red. Living only in South America in areas such as Brazil, Suriname, Venezuela and Guyana and other wooded areas north of the Amazon River, the red-handed tamarin is considered distinct from the similar looking tamarin south of the river, whose coloring is consistent (all black), and is simply called the black tamarin.
Territorial animals who live in moderately sized family groups, these tamarins are built for social living right from birth. Typical births are in pairs, meaning that from the time they are born, they have a natural partner and friend with whom they live and protect. Like most new world monkeys, they are agile and accomplished climbers. With body sizes reaching up to around 11 inches (28 cm) and weighing scarcely more than a pound (550 g) these little monkeys have to worry about snakes, jungle cats and even some birds of prey who will pick them off. They eat tree sap and resin, some insects, bird eggs and other vegetation.
The tamarin strategy of living in groups of usually around 6-8 but up to 15 has proven successful for the survivability of the species and they are doing quite well in the wild. The groups they form are fairly close-knit and there is fairly little fighting and aggression within a group. Interestingly, most of the childcare responsibilities in tamarin life falls to the father, and in fact, babies are only turned over to their mothers when it is time to nurse.