Golden lion tamarins are small, yellow-orange monkeys with thick rings of hair, which is what gives them their name. They are a critically endangered species that lives in the coastal regions of Brazil, and as of 2015, less than 2 percent of their forest habitat remains. Each of their habitats is only capable of supporting small groups of the species.
Golden lion tamarins prefer swampy, closed canopy forests that have vines, bromeliads and abundant sources of fruit. The vines provide them with easy pathways and the means to escape from predators, and they are also an important source of water. Bromeliads house a variety of insects and small animals that the monkeys prey on.
Golden lion tamarins are omnivorous. They eat insects and lizards, using their long fingers and hands to search in the cracks and crevices of barks and plants. They also eat birds and a variety of fruit.
Social groups of golden lion tamarins usually consist of two to nine members, including one breeding pair and a number of younger animals. Males help in the raising of offspring and often carry the young on their backs. Tamarin young usually consist of twins. The troop aggressively defends its territory, which typically includes about 100 acres of land. Their defensive measures generally focus on vocalizations and scent markings rather than outright fighting.
In the wild, golden lion tamarins have an average lifespan of around 15 years. Their common predators include hawks and large snakes.