4 min read

Tiny, Orphaned Marmoset LOVES Her Toothbrush Massage

The best way to start your day is with a good brushing - just ask Ninita! She's a pygmy marmoset (they're the smallest monkeys in the world) who has grown rather attached to her toothbrush. Ninita was born deaf, and subsequently hand-raised at the Rare Species Conservancy after she was abandoned by her parents. The Conservancy hopes she can become an ambassador for pygmy marmosets' dwindling native habitat, the rain forests of the Upper Amazonian basin. But first, it's time for a little quality time with those bristles.

Toothbrush wrestling is fun...

YouTube/Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

When Ninita was abandoned by her parents at three weeks old in the autumn of 2012, she had a head wound and was very sick. Already much better here at five weeks, she plays with her beloved toy, the toothbrush.

...but toothbrush massages are the best.

YouTube/Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

This recording from July 2013 shows that Ninita's love of toothbrush massages didn't dwindle. Since pygmy marmosets are highly social critters who tend to live in groups of two to nine monkeys, Ninita needs lots of attention and grooming.

Thaaaaat's the ticket.

YouTube/Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

In another summer 2013 video, Ninita helps zoologist Dr. Paul Reillo, the director of the Conservancy, attend to every millimeter of fur on her tiny head. And when he puts a pause on the massage, she turns around as if to say, "Hey, where'd my toothbrush go?"

YouTube/Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

A little well-deserved R & R.

YouTube/Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

Ninita looks like she might be meditating as she relaxes into her toothbrush massage. Conservancy staff happily notes as of a few days ago that she is thriving in her own space with a "handsome boyfriend." Hope he knows how to wield a toothbrush!

[Note: Ninita's unfortunate situation has made it necessary for her to have special attention in order to survive. She is absolutely adorable and so are these videos - but keep in mind that monkeys like her are wild animals, not pets.]

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Ninita was born blind - she was born deaf. She was also raised by the Rare Species Conservatory, not the Rare Species Conservancy.

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