What do our emperor tamarins eat?
As they are foraging in the forest, they are on the lookout for small insects—mostly katydids, millipedes, crickets or ants. During husbandry training sessions, they also receive small pieces of grapes, papaya and bananas as a reward for voluntarily doing the behaviors asked of them.
What behaviors are they learning during training sessions?
Fleck and Poe are learning a variety of husbandry behaviors that help us monitor their health and care for them. They picked up scale training right away, allowing us to monitor their weights and adjust their diets as necessary. They have also mastered recall training—returning to their enclosure whenever a keeper rings a bell. Target training (touching their noses to a target) and station training (holding still in one spot for a short period of time) are works in progress, but they are doing quite well with both of those behaviors. Last but not least, we have started crate training—asking them to enter a crate. This can help reduce stress should one of them ever need to be transported to the veterinary hospital. Fleck and Po always have the choice to participate in the training or walk away. But, for the most part, they opt to do so, especially since the know they will receive their favorite fruits as a reward!
Will Fleck and Poe be introduced to females?
Not in the immediate future. The Species Survival Plan population currently has more than double the number of males compared to females. In four of five years down the road, one of them may receive a breeding recommendation. But, for now, we are fortunate that we have the space to house our two boys.
Do they have a favorite hangout spot?
Generally, visitors can catch a glimpse of Fleck and Poe as soon as they enter the forest at the top of the stairs. That is where their nest box and food are located, so they spend most of their time in that area. They don’t stray far and rarely venture to the other end of the forest. The best time to see them is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., especially in the morning when they are most active!
This story was featured in the December 2019 issue of National Zoo News. Planning a visit to see Fleck and Poe? While you’re in Amazonia, don’t miss the fish feeding at 11 a.m. and electric fishes demonstration at 1 p.m. Check out these and other animal encounters on the Zoo’s website.