Skip to main content

Golden lion tamarin

Leontopithecus rosalia

Description: The Golden lion tamarin has silky, fiery orange or reddish-gold fur that covers its body, including a long striking mane on its cheeks, throat and ears surrounding the hairless face.

Size: Golden lion tamarins have a head-body length of 10.2-12.9 inches (26-33 cm) and a tail length between 12.5-15.8 inches (32-40 cm). They weigh 15-28.2 ounces (425-800 gr).

Behavior: Groups are highly variable, ranging from two to ten members. There is only one breeding pair per group. The dominant female restricts subordinate females from breeding behaviorally rather than physiologically.

Diet: The diet is mostly fruit with some gum and animal prey. Golden lion tamarins will eat small reptiles.

Senses: Sight is their primary sense but they also have a well-developed sense of smell.

Communication: Both sexes scent mark with glands located on the chest. They also use a variety of vocalizations.

Reproduction: Twins are usually born from September-March, which is the rainy season. There may be up to two litters annually. Gestation lasts approximately 129 days and the young tamarins are weaned at about 90 days. They are sexually mature at 18 months of age. Less than 50% will survive their first year of life.

Habitat/range: They are found in primary and secondary lowland forests of the Atlantic coastline. Their range is extremely restricted, covering only 59 square miles (153 sq km) in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.

Status: IUCN Endangered (EN); CITES Appendix I. Wild population estimated at one thousand individuals, with one-third of the population originating from the reintroduction program. Included in AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP). This program cooperatively manages specific, and typically threatened or endangered populations.