How Monkeys Use a Toothbrush

How Monkeys Use a Toothbrush

July 13, 2020

Imagine being so tiny that you use a toothbrush to comb your hair. That’s life for this very, very tiny monkey, a pygmy marmoset named Ninita. All marmosets are small: in fact, their name comes from the French word for shrimp. And the word pygmy means really, really small. Pygmy marmosets reach a height of 6 inches at most; that’s shorter than the length of a grown-up’s hand. They weigh only about 5 ounces, about the same as a few candy bars. To eat, these teeny monkeys sink their teeth into trees and suck out the sap. They can put 1,300 holes in a single tree! So Ninita may need that toothbrush for her teeth, too.

Wee ones: Who’s taller, the 5-inch tall Ninita or your 7-inch-tall juice glass?

Little kids: If Ninita is just 5 inches long but her tail is 8 inches long, how much longer than her tiny body is her tail?  Bonus: How long are she and her tail together from end to end?

Big kids: If a crowd of pygmies bites 200 holes into a tree each week, how many holes do they make in a 4-week month?  Bonus: If the San Diego Zoo buys 38 toothbrushes and uses half of them to brush the monkeys, how many do they use in that weird way?




Wee ones: The glass!

Little kids: 3 inches longer.  Bonus: 13 inches.

Big kids: 800 holes.  Bonus: 19 toothbrushes.

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