Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or
being kept as a pet harm individual animals?
Significant Cause for Concern
Ease of care of many non-traditional pets depends on the individual owner’s years of experience and knowledge caring for a particular species. For the purposes of this website, we have geared information toward the benefit of the beginner.
Common marmosets are social animals that usually live in pairs or larger family groups. They cannot be kept as solitary pets. They also require a specialized living environment to remain healthy and happy. For example, they need large enclosures —both indoors and outdoors—that have climbing structures, a hiding place where they can retreat for safety, and other items to stimulate their curiosity (e.g., for swinging, gnawing, foraging). They need to be fed a variety of foods (fruits, vegetables, live insects) many times throughout the day, and easily develop dietary-related illness. Because of the specialized care that nonhuman primates (including marmosets) require, many experts agree that these animals should not be kept as pets.
Common marmosets are easily infected with human-borne viruses, many of which can kill marmosets. They are particularly vulnerable to the virus HHV-1 (human herpesvirus 1) that causes cold sores in people but is deadly to marmosets. Captive breeding of common marmosets is also problematic. Research has shown that females bred at a young age have compromised health and a shortened lifespan. Additionally, approximately half of newborns are either rejected or killed by their parents or die from unknown causes.