More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Wildlife Wednesdays: Cotton-Top Tamarins Return to Tree of Life

I’m really excited to kick off a series of posts called “Wildlife Wednesdays.” In the series, members of the Disney’s Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives team will share photos and information on the amazing wildlife at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Cotton-Top Tamarin

First up is one of my favorite animals – the cotton-top tamarin. I met my first cotton-top when I was a 19-year-old college student, which led to a life-long effort to help this criticially endangered, one-pound monkey with a wild head of white hair (yes, that’s how they got their name!) found only in northern Colombia, South America.

Guests who visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the theme park’s early years will remember that they could see cotton-tops in a habitat near the Tree of Life. Since just last month, cotton-tops are, once again, in this location – in a new enhanced habitat. Guests also can still visit cotton-tops (and golden lion tamarins and emperor tamarins too) at Rafiki’s Planet Watch on the pathway to Conservation Station.

Cotton-tops need our help. With fewer than 7,500 remaining in the tropical forests of Colombia and tropical forests being cut down every day, we don’t have time to wait. Find out more about what you can do by visiting the Proyecto Titi website. When you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can help by supporting the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Cotton-top tamarin fun facts:

  • Cotton-top tamarins live in families that range in size from 2-8 members – it’s mom, dad, and the kids.
  • Female cotton-top tamarins generally give birth to twins once a year that weigh almost 15 percent of their body weight – that’s equivalent to a women who weighs about 150 lbs giving birth to two ten-pound infants!
  • Can a cotton-top mom raise her babies by herself? Nope, she needs help. Mom, dad, brothers and sisters all help to take care of the babies. Cotton-top tamarins have perfected the art of babysitting.
  • What do a cotton-top tamarin and a plastic bag have in common? Proyecto Titi has taught women to crochet using plastic bags like the ones we bring home from the grocery store. They make these beautiful tote bags called eco-mochilas that are sold in several shops at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Purchasing an eco-mochila helps communities in Colombia protect forests that the cotton-top tamarins call home.


  • I am so excited there are going to be weekly update from the Animal Program!!! I can’t wait until next Wednesday!

  • Can the eco-mochilas be purchased online? What is their price?

    • Thanks for your interest in supporting our conservation efforts! Eco-mochilas can be purchased online at ProyectoTiti’s website ( There are a variety of different styles to choose from and they range in size from beach bags to lunch bags.

  • In early November this year, I asked two CMs about the Tamarins returning to the Tree of Life area, one at the entrance to the picture trail and the other at the Tamarin exhibit at the Conservation Station. Both of them told me this was not happening. I’m glad to see that this did indeed happen. But shouldn’t the CMs be a little better informed?

    Some of the CMs in AK don’t even know about the various trails around the Tree of Life. The CM at the entrance to the picture trail told me that the picture trail was the only trail on Discovery Island. Very sad!

  • That’s AWESOME!! I’ve missed having those guys out there – they bring a lot of motion and a sense of vitality to that front section of the Tree of Life. Also, they’re just plain cool. Thanks for bringing them back to the forefront!

  • The Tree of Life gardens is one of the most under-rated attractions at Animal Kingdom. We love to meander, look at the animals and gaze up at the Tree of Life admiring the carvings of the different animals. We often don’t encounter anyone else on a leisurly stroll — we love it!

Comments are closed.