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No Monkey Business – Caring for a Pet Monkey

Marcel from FriendsIf you’re as old as I am, you’ll probably remember that Ross from the TV show Friends had a capuchin monkey named Marcel early in the show’s infancy. Despite what the few episodes he appeared in showed, caring for a pet monkey is no simple task!

If you’re considering the purchase of a pet monkey, the first thing you’ll want to do is check on your state and city/county laws on the possession of non-human primates. There are 19 states (including New York and Pennsylvania) that outlaw the possession of monkeys. There are many other states that have partial bans or other requirements for the possession of monkeys as pets. Check out Pet Monkey Info for more information on the laws in your state.

Please welcome Jamal, our guest poster for the rest of this basic care guide on pet monkeys, as pet monkeys are beyond the scope of the pets the experts at That Pet Place. No matter what kind of pet you decide on, you should do a lot of research and talk with other pet owners in your area for advice before making any decision; doubly so for any exotic, uncommon wild creature in the U.S.


SQUIRREL MONKEYIt should be noted, that most of you are not cut out to be monkey owners. Now this is not slander on your ability as people, it is merely an observation that the average person does not have the time nor the commitment that is required to properly care for a monkey. A comparable example to a pet monkey is caring for a toddler an entire lifetime.

To the brave few who feel they are up to the task, I salute you and encourage that you read on.


This short guide is a great start to obtaining the information that you would need to begin caring for your first pet monkey, but far from complete. You must do extensive research, scouring the internet and books, for all information you can gather. To take this one step further try reaching out to an actual monkey owner to see what methods they use which you feel will be transferable to your monkey. Do the majority of your research before obtaining your monkey as this could be as this could be the decision maker into whether or not you are up to caring for a monkey. Make sure to research the different breeds of monkeys before getting much farther into the process.

Obtaining a monkey legally

The only legitimate and safe way to obtain a monkey would be to buy one through a breeder. Although the tricky part is sometimes locating a breeder which is near to you and is not asking outrageous prices, while on the topic of prices, always look at the going rate of the breed of monkey you are going for, as anything under that price is more often than not going to be a scam. Some breeders have created their own websites and advertise through that platform, others use pet listing sites such as themonkeymart.com, regardless as to where you find your breeder always ask them for proof of previous clients, I also always advise that monkeys be picked up from the breeder, for the safety of the monkey.

Time and Commitment

I feel as though this point needs to be reiterated again and again, owning a monkey is a lifetime commitment which during their infancy requires 24/7 attention with some needing such attention all the way into adulthood.


monkeysAs much as we love to believe the stereotype, monkeys eat a lot more than bananas. They require a specific balanced diet, which cannot consist of human food alone. Their sugar intake must be monitored at all times, too much sugar in the monkeys diet can lead to diabetes, in turn would require insulin shots and an awful standard of living for a primate. A recent introduction into a monkey’s diet, which has become a regulation of sorts, is monkey chow. A mixture of certain fruits, nuts and insects. Monkey biscuits are also needed for the growth and development of the primate.

Living Environment

For the safety of the monkey, you will need a cage. As the intelligence of the primates comes into effect, being in a house 24 hours a day they will begin to unlock doors, windows and cabinets, this will put their safety highly at risk. The USDA recommend a minimum size for the cage, it is however advised that you are to acquire something larger, to what extent is at your discretion, just remember monkeys are very active animals and need a lot of space to play. They also need a large amount of mental stimulation, ensure to fill their cages with toys, trees and plants. Without mental stimulation, the monkey will become bored, which can lead to aggressive behaviour.

Remember this is only a short guide to get you started, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Jamal Asskoumi

About hcrotsley

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.
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