Developmental Stages

Cooperative Care

Up to 3 Weeks


  • Infants are carried ‘piggy-back’
  • Infants carried on the back at all times
  • Marmosets are able to run and climb with the infants on their back

‘Taking Turns’

  • The load is shared: infants are transferred from back to back

Around 4 Weeks

Encouragement to Get Off Back

  • Encouragement to get off back
  • In captivity the infants can start to leave the carrier’s back at an earlier age than in the wild
  • Sometimes the youngsters need some encouragement and the adult will give them small nips and ‘wipe’ them off onto the surface


  • Infants begin to become interested and explore their environment through touching, licking and smelling
  • They leave the carrier’s backs for progressively longer periods of time
  • Infants’ first social interactions happen whilst still being carried by other group members

Influence of Enrichment

  • Enrichment affects infant development
  • Youngsters start performing some behaviours earlier in an enriched environment (including: gnawing wood, exploration and scent marking and begging towards care staff)
  • Extra enrichment can be provided by: a hanging cloth; a variety of regularly changed different textured novel objects to touch and move; an artificial gum tree; etc.)


  • The nearby group members remain alert and vigilant for possible sources of danger
  • The youngsters are then picked up by their carrier
  • If startled, the infants will return to the back for protection

After 8 weeks

Hitching a Ride

  • Older youngsters are only carried occasionally


Weaning from the mother's milk occurs earlier in captivity (6 weeks) than in the wild (8-10 weeks).


  • Infants suckle to drink milk from their mother

Solid Food

  • Infants taste solid food before weaning