It was a trend set by Madonna, Gwyneth and Britney. And now it seems the animal world has caught on.

After struggling to carry her newborn twins on her back, mum Olive, is using a manny – or male nanny – to look after them for her.

A male monkey she shares an enclosure with has taken on the role of full time carer – while she and the father sit back and relax.

Tom, a golden lion tamarin, started looking after the twins when they were just six weeks old.

They are silvery marmoset’s, a smaller breed, he shares an enclosure with.

But it’s Tom who feeds them their lunch and then settles them of to sleep on his back.

Visitor Lisa Styles said: ‘Having a male nanny is really fashionable. I laughed when I heard what was going on. It’s so cute that he’s childminding these babies, especially because they look so different to him.’

Both species, the silvery marmoset and the golden lion tamarin originate from the rain forest.

Marmosets are sociable primates and are known to share childminding duties with the father or other extended family, but not a different species.

Curator at Colchester Zoo, Clive Barwick said: ‘It must be uncomfortable work for the marmosets carrying twins, it is great to see these marmosets are cooperating so well with Tom and allowing him to help them out.

‘While it is well recorded that other primate species do work together to assist the young of their own species, it is much more unusual to see this cooperation going on between different primate species.’

ENDS