Food Finding Activities

Film Canisters on Board

  • Film canisters, with lid half-on and containing fruit, provide a challenge
  • Canisters can be fixed to plastic board using plastic cable ties

Egg Box

  • An egg box filled with sawdust and treats can be tied to a solid surface, using bleach-free string
  • Important: always ensure that any egg boxes used do not carry disease

Forage Box

  • A plastic box can also be baited with food

Hamster Wheel

  • Food placed into a hamster wheel moves when marmosets jump in to reach it
  • As the wheel moves underneath their feet they use their tails for balance
  • The wheel is restricted in movement: a very important safety measure to ensure that the tail cannot be trapped in the wheel

Hanging Film Canisters

  • Empty films canisters hanging upright with treats inside require gymnastics to reach
  • Fill with artificial gum; mashed banana; raisins

Stuffed Toilet Roll

  • Food can be hidden inside an empty toilet roll stuffed with crumpled bits of bleach-free paper or straw.

Food Hidden in Hanging Architecture

  • Food hidden in hanging structures encourages exploration and requires balance to reach

Encouraging Play

Cats Radiator Cradle

  • Provides an elevated place to hide and play
  • Also serves as an extra perch for grooming which is soft in texture

Cat Basket

  • A soft fleece-lined cats basket provides somewhere to hide and wrestle
  • Objects on the floor can tempt marmosets down so that this under-used area of the enclosure is used (however, remember that marmosets prefer to spend their time high up being arboreal)
  • The unexpected ‘give’ in the basket roof when a marmoset leaps demands quick balancing

Tea-towel Hammock

  • Tie each end of a tea towel with un-bleached string and suspend high above floor
  • Cheap, easy way to provide movement and a soft-textured, place to sit high up

Feathers in Box

  • A box of loose feathers provides a soft place in which to wrestle and play
  • Loose feathers can be carried around by marmosets because they weigh little
  • They can move in an unpredictable way – e.g. if one end gets chewed then the other end gets pounced on by others

Fleece Pillow-case

  • A fleece pillow case offers a soft texture and encourages the marmosets to play
  • They can hide in the soft folds of the material

Other Activities to keep marmosets busy

Remote-controlled Tarantula

  • The introduction and especially the movement of this toy initially attracts attention and collective investigation

Sounds of Other Animals

  • Sounds of prey, and of birds (limited playback advised), can be played to marmosets to provide auditory enrichment
  • Marmosets are likely to attend to the noise and may approach the source


  • Marmosets are not thought to be able to recognise the image in the mirror as themselves
  • They may see the image in the mirror as another marmoset
  • Mirrors provide unexpected views that fascinate infant marmosets

Novel Object

  • Novelty is important to keep attention high
  • In this video, a group of marmosets investigate what is a novel object to them at this stage: the Cat Basket
  • They are still in control because they can run away from it if they begin to feel uncertain or threatened

Important: Always assess safety of any enrichment before and after introduction.