Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Red-handed Tamarin

True Wild Life | Red-handed Tamarin | The red-handed tamarin (also known as the Golden-handed Tamarin and the Midas Tamarin) is a New World monkey named for the reddish hair on it's hands and feet. The red-handed tamarin is native to the moist woodland areas along the Amazon river in South America. The red-handed tamarin is found inhabiting the forest alongside the Amazon throughout Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Although once quite large, the natural territory of the red-handed tamarin has rapidly decreased today due to deforestation.

The red-handed tamarin is an exceptional climber and spends most of it's time among the vines and branches of the trees. Red-handed tamarins are quick and agile and are superb jumpers known to jump distances of over 60 feet (18 m) from a tree to the ground when needed. The red-handed tamarin is a diurnal primate which means that the red-handed tamarin is most active during the day and rests in the safety of the tree tops during the night. Red-handed tamarins are very sociable animals and inhabit their territory with their rest of the red-handed tamarin troop which generally have between 4 and 16 members. Red-handed tamarin troops are led by the eldest female and have predominantly male members.

The red-handed tamarin is an omnivorous animal meaning that the red-handed tamarin hunts both plants and other animals in order to survive. Fruits, insects and green plants make up the majority of the red-handed tamarin's diet along with small rodents and reptiles, eggs and tree sap. Due to the relatively small size of the red-handed tamarin, it has a number of predators within it's natural environment. Wild cats, dogs, snakes and birds of prey are primary predators of the red-handed tamarin, along with humans who are destroying their natural habitat.

The red-handed tamarin usually breeds between the months of April and July, when the female red-handed tamarin will give birth to twins (or a single infant) after a four to five month gestation period. The male red-handed tamarin's carry and groom infants more than the females do, but females clean the infant more than the males do. Older siblings are also known to contribute to infant care, although infants prefer to be carried by their parents than by their siblings. Infant red-handed tamarins become mobile at 2 to 5 weeks, and begin eating solid food at 4 to 7 weeks. They are independent at 10 to 18 weeks and are fully weaned at 15 to 25 weeks. Sexual maturity is attained at about 2 years of age.

Today, the red-handed tamarin is not considered to be an animal that is in danger of extinction although the population of wild red-handed tamarins in the rainforests of South America has been declining in recent years primarily due to habitat loss caused by deforestation.

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