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March 30, 2023

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Cotton-Top Tamarin Born at Nashville Zoo

This species is among the most endangered primates in the world so each birth is crucial to the survival of the species.

Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey

Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a cotton-top tamarin monkey. The baby was born on May 29 to 8-year-old Caqueta (mom) and 17-year-old Pancho (dad) and the sex has yet to be determined.

This is Caqueta’s fourth successful birth and Nashville Zoo now has six cotton-top tamarins in their care including the new baby. Cotton-top tamarins have been on exhibit at Nashville Zoo since 2018 when Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear opened. This baby will stay at Nashville Zoo until it reaches sexual maturity and eventually go to another zoo to be a part of their breeding program to help maintain a sustainable conservation population with other AZA facilities in the United States.

Fully grown cotton-top tamarins weigh about a pound and are around nine inches long. Cotton-tops can produce over 38 vocalizations and get their name from the mane of white fur around their face. Their diet is primarily fruit, but they will also eat flowers, nectar, sap, and insects.

Cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) are only native to the humid to dry deciduous forests of Northwestern Colombia. Nashville Zoo is part of the Cotton-Top Tamarin Species Survival Plan® and financially contributes to Proyecto Titi, an organization in Colombia that works to engage communities in efforts to protect cotton-top tamarins in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists cotton-top tamarins as critically endangered due to deforestation of their natural habitat and illegal pet trade.

Guests can see cotton-top tamarins in their habitat visible from the women’s restroom at Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear, which was awarded America’s Best Restroom by Cintas in 2019.

For more information on cotton-top tamarins, visit



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing and Entertainment Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra.