Double trouble at the Prof. Brandes House
Animal news | 19 November 2021
There’s great jubilation over at the Prof. Brandes House at the moment, with our emperor tamarin Sissi having given birth to babies number 13 and 14 on 8 November. Twins are not uncommon among emperor tamarins, and the birth itself was pretty uneventful according to our keeper. In the morning, the healthy pair was found snuggled up together amongst the entire group. Bringing up infants is a family affair for this species – the males and older siblings help out by carrying the newborns carefully through the enclosure; the infants love to clamber up onto their dad’s, brothers’ and sisters’ backs. At around three to four weeks, the little ones start to get curious about the world, leaving the safety of the older ones’ backs for a short time to strike out on their own and explore. From time to time, they’ll also nibble some of the adults’ food. But they won’t switch completely to solid food until they are about six months old. For these omnivores, this consists of vegetables, insects, meat, eggs, gum arabic, and a special tamarin food mix. Emperor tamarins weigh about 38 – 40 grams at birth. An adult animal tips the scale at around 500 – 600 grams.
As with all of Sissi’s fourteen babies, the twins’ dad is Ulli – who was bred here at the zoo and born on 3 June 2014. Sissi arrived here from Berlin in 2015. Emperor tamarins are monogamous and live together with the older juveniles. At the moment, our troop of emperor tamarins at the Prof. Brandes House comprises nine animals, who are all taking a touching amount of care of the new arrivals.