Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Marmoset Babies Surprise Experts

Proud father Zag the marmoset hauls his two surviving triplets for a piggyback deathwatch.

Cudgee Wildlife Park operators have the experts wondering what monkey tricks they've got up their sleeves after they were able to hand-rear a baby marmoset triplet for three weeks.

According to Cudgee Wildlife Park's Helen Altmann it is very rare for marmosets to give birth to triplets and even rarer that the third one survives.

"There's only two other places in Australia that have these monkeys - Canberra and Darwin Ð and they've only ever been able to hand-rear one for 24 hours," Mrs Altmann said.

Underdeveloped lungs meant Tuppence didn't make it past the three-week mark.

It was a long three weeks of late nights and little sleep for Mrs Altmann.

"You don't get any sleep when you're hand-rearing things," she said.

"Unfortunately they don't shut down and go to sleep like human babies."

During the intensive three weeks Tuppence had to be kept in a humidicrib, fed via a teat on the end of a syringe every one-and-a-half hours, and given extra nourishment through multi-vitamins and protein supplements.

Mrs Altmann said she expected the two remaining babies, now four weeks old, would be named Pip and Pop once their sex was determined.

Story here.

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