Q:

What do marmosets eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Marmosets mainly feed on exudates, which include the sap, resin, gum and latex of trees and other plants. They also eat other parts of plants, such as leaves, fruit, seeds and flowers. Additionally, they supplement their diets with insects, snails, lizards, frogs, bird eggs, baby birds and mammals.

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Full Answer

Marmosets have claw-like nails that they use to cling to trees as they feed. They use their sharp incisors to scrape or chew holes in the trunks of trees. When the exudates ooze out, they use their tongues to lick them up. They create multiple holes in few trees until the sap becomes depleted, and then they move on to harvest resources from other trees.

Sometimes marmosets stalk and feed on insects, such as butterflies, which are attracted to the sap holes. Smaller species of marmosets are able to scurry into the tops of trees to feed on the prevalent insects.

Larger primate species, such as the brown-mantled tamarin, inhabit the same geographical areas and sometimes feed at the gum-holes of marmosets. Various species of birds, such as toucans and parrots, typically compete with marmosets for fruit. Predators of marmosets include birds of prey, snakes and wild cats. Marmosets have flexible necks, and they can twist their heads backwards to spot danger. They can also move fast and leap far to avoid predators.

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