So, you have been thinking of a new, exotic, show stopper of a pet….the first thing that comes to your mind is a monkey. You see them on the internet for sale all the time and think, why not? Seems easy enough, right? JUST NO!
Owning a monkey seems to be the new trend, you see those cute videos all over social media and think “they are so cute” or “BEST PET EVER!” Unfortunately, social media is not accurately displaying all of the hardships that also go along with owning a monkey. You are only being shown a small portion of a “day in the life of.” If you actually speak to a responsible primate owner, they would tell you of all the daily sacrifices that have to be made for not only the monkey’s health and well being but for your’s and your loved one’s as well.
Monkeys are very diverse, intelligent, and interesting creatures, so it should be no small wonder that people like to keep them as pets. We’ve seen real and fictional people keep them as pets, like Michael Jackson or Ross from Friends. The creatures’ antics are often interesting to behold, but that does not mean these animals should be kept as pets by just anyone.
Monkeys are curious and intelligent creatures who need quite a bit of attention and support. They need constant enrichment, specialized diets, space adequate for the size of the monkey, appropriate and safe bedding, and housing. Monkey’s are not house broken and obviously you can’t just let them out in the backyard to go potty so you’re now looking at expenses for diapers. Have you ever tried to diaper a toddler on the run? Now imagine a toddler that can run and jump faster than you, he/she can bite with a force that breaks bones instantly…does this sound “fun” to you yet? Monkey’s are lifelong toddlers- some species can live up to 30 years and sometimes even longer!
Monkey’s generally bond to one person and that will always be “their person” so they will look at spouses, children, other family members, neighbors as a threat and that can be dangerous. Monkeys can and will lash out at new people in the home and this can result in trauma for the monkey and person, not to mention if someone were to get bitten or hurt, there can be legal consequences as well. You also run the risk of being forced to euthanize your pet if it is deemed “dangerous.”
Depending on the species of monkey you are thinking about, the cost can range from $6,000-$25,000 and sometimes even higher! You also have to factor in the specialized diet (Monkey’s can be picky so you can easily have to change their diet several times in a week or a month to ensure they are getting proper nutrition), housing costs (monkey’s are notorious for breaking locks, cages, etc), diapers, and medical costs.
You also have to make sure it is legal to keep monkey’s in your state of residence. Most states either ban all primate species from being privately owned and some states only allow certain species. You also have to be wary of your city or town’s rules as well, just because the state allows you to own a monkey doesn’t necessarily mean the city or town does not have ordinances banning them within the city limits.
You need to be aware that your vacations will never be the same again. You can’t just board a monkey at a boarding facility or hire someone to come into your home to look after them. If you plan on taking your monkey with you, you must check any state that you will be traveling through to see what their laws are regarding primates. Some states, like Georgia, it is illegal to drive through the state with a primate so you may have to completely bypass or take the long way around to get to your destination.
After you have made sure it is legal to obtain a monkey, you need to make sure you have researched and spoken to an exotic Veterinarian and have a plan in place to make sure you have adequate healthcare secured. You never know when you will need to call and get an emergency visit so it’s best to already be established with a Doctor in your area.
We are not trying to discourage pet ownership but we do want the public to be educated before just purchasing what they think is a cute, tiny pet. This can turn out to be a nightmare if thorough research is not performed, the appropriate enclosures are not set up, and there isn’t an emergency monkey fund set aside. Bad things can happen at any time and you need to be prepared to spend the money to have your pet taken care of properly.
As always, we are always here for any questions you may have, to provide resources to aid you if you already own a primate, and a wonderful group of primate owners who will talk to you and explain the struggles and joys that come along with owning a primate.