Moustachioed male Emperor Tamarin monkeys are dispensing some unexpected parenting advice - to newborn twin marmosets who share their enclosure.
Staff at the Tropical Butterfly House in North Anston have watched in amazement as the two older males - distinctive for their white handlebar moustaches - have taken to the tiny twin Pygmy Marmosets.
The twins were born to Pygmy Marmoset couple Blaize and Gizmo, who were introduced to one another in 2012. It was a case of love at first sight for the twosome, and their first baby Pickle was born in January 2013.
Following the birth of their - so far unnamed - new twins, staff at the centre have been thrilled by the monkeys’ interaction, as the two tiny babies began snuggling with their two ‘adopted uncles’, cuddling up in the fur on their backs and necks.
Zoo manager Andrew Reeve said: “It is not uncommon for other species to hold newborns within a mixed primate enclosure - what’s unusual is the co-operation we’ve observed within our group.
“Adopted parents sometimes refuse to give the young back to mum. However our Tamarins have been very good with the Pygmy Marmoset family and have allowed mum to have the young back to feed them.
“We will continue to monitor the group closely and are really pleased with the twins’ growth so far.”
The Pygmy Marmoset is the smallest species of monkey in the world, reaching up to only 16cm long.
The Emperor Tamarin is named for its resemblance to the German emperor and King of Prussia, the moustachioed Wilhelm II.
It is native to the southwest Amazon Basin in east Peru, north Bolivia and west Brazilian states.