Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Small Mammals

Short-Eared Elephant Shrew

Mammals vary in size from the 100-foot-long blue whale to the two-gram bumblebee bat, one of the world's most endangered species. Most mammals measure less than one foot (including the head and body). That makes small mammals far more common, if less well known, than large mammals like elephants, tigers, and people.

Small mammals cut across categories. Most species are rodents (such as the naked mole-rat), insectivores, and bats, but there are also carnivores (such as slender-tailed meerkats), and primates (such as golden lion tamarins and lemurs).

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Watching golden lion tamarins: You are viewing an enclosure in the Zoo's Small Mammal House where a pair of golden lion tamarins (GLTs) lives. Tune in Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern Time to see the GLTs get an enrichment item. You may see other animals that live here too, such as a pair of saki monkeys, sloths, or an acouchi. There are only about 1,500 GLTs in the wild. For decades, Zoo scientists have collaborated with conservation organizations to help save from extinction these endangered monkeys.

Related Cams
     Naked Mole-rat

Mammal Mystery

Family members of this species greet with what looks like a kiss. They're not really kissing, but gently touching their front teeth together. What animals recognize each other this way?

Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program

Golden Lion Tamarin

For more than 30 years, this program has been saving these small monkeys through conservation breeding and reintroduction to their natural habitat in Brazil. Thanks to the success of the program, the status of GLTs was downgraded from "critically endangered" to "endangered" by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 2003. more