Perils of owning a pet monkey


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Monkeys in the United States of America being sold or given away are usually surplus animals from Zoos, Breeders or unfortunately laboratories. These primates are often sold when they are quite young and therefore do not have a normal upbringing with their mother. These juveniles can develop abnormal demeanor’s such as rocking, digit sucking and self hugging.

A major concern for a monkey carer / owner is the aggression of the monkey when it grows up and matures. Smaller monkeys will reach sexual maturity quicker and therefore can have a radical change in behavior and exhibit more aggression than a larger monkey whom will take a few more years to fully mature. Some monkeys will become aggressive and some monkeys will not, it really depends on the individual monkey and is is something that cannot be predicted when the monkey is only a baby. It is this uncertainty that surprises pet monkey carers and owners and sadly in most cases these people are not prepared for and will either give-away the biting and scratching monkey or confine the monkey in a cage or even surgically remove the monkeys teeth and nails.

The other equally concerning issue for human carers of primates is the zoonotic diseases. On the one hand, the simple human cold sores can kill the tiny monkeys such as the tamarins and the marmosets. Wheras some monkeys such as the macaques can carry a potentially fatal virus; the Herpes B virus which can be transmitted through scratches and bites.

There is no doubt that monkeys are wild animals. Trying to keep a wild animal in captivity is always going to be a massive challenge, just take a look at zoos and the amount of care, space, facilities and attention those animals require to meet the bare minimum amount of animal rights.

There are risks and hazards to caring for a pet monkey, not just to the human but also to the monkey themselves. If you are still adamant on caring for a pet monkey despite the risks and perils, then ask yourself the following questions. Are you committed? as some monkeys can live as long as humans can. Do you have the resources? Pet monkeys are expensive and they are social animals and should be able to interact with their own species. Do you have the time? Monkeys require lots of contact time with their human carers otherwise they will become emotionally unstable.