Walk-in Enclosure


Marmosets are tropical monkeys and require:

  • Surrounding temperature of 23-28 °C
  • Humidity level of 40-70%
  • Marmosets
    • will choose to go outside in cold weather, but it is critical they can return to the warmth if they wish
    • should not be allowed out when it is very cold as they have been known to get frostbite (guideline min. temp: 5 °C)


  • Clean, hygienic conditions are necessary
  • Stale food and excreta need to be removed regularly
  • A thorough clean of the enclosure should only be done once every 1-2 months
  • Scent marking is important to the marmosets and cleaning should not remove familiar scents completely

Features of a Good Enclosure

Hover your mouse over this image to reveal details of key components of the enclosure

A marmoset enclosure

Ceiling-Space Use

  • Structures attached to the ceiling by hooks and karabiner-type clips increase the amount of useful space
  • Allows marmosets to hang down and play
  • Marmosets are more active higher up
  • Mesh can even be used to cover the entire ceiling, dramatically increasing the effective space


  • Safe, high, dry, comfortable place to sleep/seek refuge/hide
  • In the wild, marmosets sleep on branch forks, or vine tangles
  • In captivity a nest-box provides a safe sleeping site in which to huddle
  • Should be well ventilated: reduces moisture from breathing; prevents risk of suffocation
  • Marmosets prefer a nest-box made of warmer softer materials such as wood and plastic rather than metal


  • Provides movement
  • Marmosets enjoy leaping onto and sitting, swinging and playing on it

Perspex Box

  • A perspex box with a layer of sawdust on the base creates ‘ground-like’ conditions without requiring the marmosets to spend any time on the ground
  • Food can be placed into the box, or mixed into the sawdust and so hidden – food that is not easily accessible requires the marmosets to work harder to reach it.
  • Marmosets may feel vulnerable to predators preferring to spend time higher up
  • A box fixed to a ledge like this gives them an elevated place in which to play and forage

Vertical Space Use

  • Vertical wooden poles and structures that make use of vertical space are essential
  • Allow marmosets to climb, cling and leap
  • In the wild marmosets live in the trees and rarely come down to the ground
  • Marmosets much prefer being higher up and are more active at higher levels (as shown in the main photo)

High Perches

  • Marmosets like to be able to flee above human head height
  • On high perches they can feel safe and have a good view of what is below

Wide Flat Perches

  • Allow several marmosets to occupy the space at once
  • Encourage positive grooming, full resting, huddling and other friendly social behaviours (flat surfaces can be kept dry and comfortable by making holes to drain away any urine)

Floor Covering

  • Encourages natural foraging behaviour as the monkeys have to work harder to find their food
  • Dropped food can later be searched out
  • Scatter feed can also be mixed into the sawdust before it is laid out after enclosure cleaning
  • Foraging on the floor encourages full use of the enclosure
  • A ‘biofloor’ can be used that requires less frequent cleaning, maintaining olfactory stability

Internal Window

  • Provides visual interest
  • Marmosets can sit on a ledge to view human activity and movement inside the building


  • Light intensity level affects behaviour
  • High light intensity encourages activity and improves reproduction
  • Natural and artificial sources of light are both important
  • Marmosets love sunbathing, and providing choice of light and darker areas is important

External Window

  • Provides visual ‘entertainment’
  • Bird seed provided on the outside windowsill and a bird table attract birds and other wildlife
  • One-way mirrored glass allows the marmosets to watch whilst being themselves unobserved
  • The ramps shown in the video allow marmosets to approach the window closely, and maximises the use of space

External Windowsill

  • The window sill provides a wide ledge on which many marmosets can sit together and look out of the external window

Sliding Panels

  • This small sliding door allows animals to be temporarily separated (e.g. for veterinary care)
  • A hole cut into the panel, and covered with clear perspex, also provides visual enrichment
  • Larger sliding dividers or panels within the enclosure are even better: whilst the marmoset is separated, they can still remain in close contact with their group (auditory and or visual). It also allows them to stay in a place they know, with familiar smells, helping to lessen their stress

For more detailed information on the features of a good enclosure see EAZA Husbandry Guidelines – section 2.1

Important: Always assess safety of any enrichment before and after introduction.

Access to an Outdoor Enclosure

Providing access to an outdoor enclosure improves welfare in captivity.

Ducting can be used to connect indoor and outdoor enclosures.

Important: marmosets with access to outdoor enclosures need to be immunised to protect them against infections that can be present in bird droppings, including Yersinia and Salmonella bacteria.