There are a handful of pet monkey breeds, but primates are not great pet candidates for animal lovers. Monkeys are high maintenance, and in some cases, the few species known as pets may be aggressive. These animals are a considerable time commitment, so pet lovers need a lot of available space.
Pet Monkey Breeds
Pet owners need to consider overall care for the monkey breed, the type of enclosure, and zoonotic diseases. It is also essential to check with local officials, as most states do not allow monkeys as pets, and others require special permits. A pet monkey requires extensive care, and what will happen if you need to travel?
A chimpanzee may appear to be a good pet, but many animal lovers do not realize this primate is an ape. By age five, they are stronger than humans, live between 50 and 60 years, and space is almost always an issue. Most pet chimps end up in medical research facilities.
Capuchins are also known as ring-tail monkeys. This primate is intelligent and may live between 35 and 45 years. An outdoor primate enclosure with a heated indoor cage is a habitat requirement. The environment must mimic this monkey's natural habitat.
Macaque baby monkeys are cute, but this is not a good reason to keep one as a pet. This small primate may live up to 25 years if the enclosure is appropriate and the monkey is in good health. The macaque may also spread a zoonotic disease to the human caretaker. This monkey is a carrier of the herpes virus, and this may cause fatal encephalitis in people. A bite transfers the virus.
This pet is a lifetime commitment, as this monkey may live between 15 and 20 years. In the wild, marmoset monkeys are social animals, and this trait is why many pet parents are attracted to this primate. This monkey throws a tantrum if emotionally neglected. The primates are known to vocalize and scream.
Also known as Wolf's mona monkey, this species may live between 20 and 25 years. Guenon monkeys are social animals, and it is better to have two. The cute little noses and colorful bodies are what attract many pet lovers. Guenon monkeys run, climb, and play, so the enclosure needs to be large.
All spider monkeys need diapers, but diaper training is out of the question. Adults are known to rip off the diapers and throw them away! This pet monkey needs a lot of human attention, and without it, this species turns aggressive. Spider monkeys may live between 30 and 35 years.
The squirrel monkeys are also highly social animals. This monkey is similar to the others, and family dynamics may be challenging. Squirrel monkeys are picky eaters, and constant care is necessary. Any neglect may be a problem, and the monkey may bully the weakest human in the group. Squirrel monkeys may live up to 25 years in a captive habitat.
Types of Pet Monkeys
While there are many types of pet monkeys, a primate is not a good companion animal. With that in mind, the capuchin monkey is seen in many movies and one of the pets frequently available at animal auctions. Some pet lovers may decide this type of pet monkey is a good candidate after seeing the capuchin with Hollywood actors, but the monkey is also an actor.
Type of Small Monkey
The smaller primates also need large enclosures. Some pet parents may think the smaller the monkey, the smaller the pen, but all primates need a lot of space. The type of small monkeys available as pets may vary, yet many share similar characteristics. Many of these behaviors are not a good fit for every pet parent's lifestyle. For example, after some monkeys reach maturity, primates are known to throw feces at human caretakers if boredom is an issue.
Challenges and Risks
Many monkeys are aggressive after puberty, and in the wild, monkeys tend to bite each other. This aggressive behavior may spill over into a home with humans. There are many challenges, and the cons outweigh any benefits. Monkeys are also social animals and need a lot of attention from pet parents. Living with a monkey is a full-time job, as your pet chimp requires constant companionship.
Is It Legal to Own a Monkey?
Most states require special permits to own monkeys. Many regions also ban pet monkeys, and a state-licensed vet may not treat an illegal primate. Do your research before the animal auction comes around.
State-Licensed Vet for Monkeys
All pet parents need a special vet to treat a monkey or primate. Not all vets can treat primates, and a state-licensed vet must be on point for treatment, overall care, and medication. Ideally, a vet with training in zoology and experience with primates needs to be available anytime the monkey is ill.
Monkeys Are Not Good Pets
Captive monkeys need a proper diet, and a vet may help with the overall care and treatment of a sick primate. If it is legal and a pet parent can get a primate permit, living with a monkey is a lifetime commitment. The bottom line is monkeys need to live in the wild, not in an enclosure in a yard. Too many pet monkeys are re-homed or placed in medical facilities. Do your research before buying a pet monkey.