pet monkey

10 Reasons Why You Should Not Have a Pet Monkey

Thinking of having a pet monkey? Then, think hard again. Primates like monkeys may have a close link to humans in evolutionary terms. But living with them is far different than living and caring for another human being. They mature in age, but they are mentally kids for the rest of their lives.

Having a pet monkey may just end in tears instead of smiles. The Furry Companion lists ten reasons why you should not have a pet monkey

1. Keeping a pet monkey is illegal.

Source: Pexels

The most important thing to remember in keeping a pet monkey is this: it is illegal.

Laws regarding having a pet monkey differs in every US state. If you are caught illegally owning one, you can be fined thousands of dollars that you could have spent on more necessary things.

Currently, only 19 states allow their residents to keep a pet monkey. Some of these states require special permits or only allow a physically challenged person to keep a pet monkey. These are as follows: 

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

In the UK, keeping a pet monkey is legal, but you need to acquire a permit to do so.

Lianne McLeod, DVM, adds, “homeowner policies might require additional liability coverage, or some insurance companies might cancel your policy altogether if they find out you have a monkey.”

By purchasing a pet monkey, you may also unknowingly be supporting the illegal trade of exotic animals. This encourages primate breeders to continue the vicious cycle of forcibly breeding monkeys to sell their babies.

2. You are liable for your pet’s monkey business.

Source: Pexels

As a monkey owner, you are responsible not only for its well-being but also for the damage it may cause.

Monkeys are naturally loud and aggressive creatures. They are also good escape artists. If they ever escape their cage or their leash when you take them out, then you are in big trouble. They may end up biting or scratching passersby or your neighbors. As they also like throwing poop anywhere, your neighbor’s place may end up pissed.

Any casualty or wreckage done by your pet monkey is on you. Do note that insurance does not cover such damages. So all the dollars spent on your monkey’s business will be from your own pocket. 

3. A pet monkey is only cute when it is young.

Source: Pexels

Remember that feeling as your baby grows older, you wish they had stayed a baby forever? It is applicable not only for your human baby but also for your baby monkey.

Part of the reason you may want a pet monkey is its cuteness. It’s true that they are cute and helpless when they are young. They can be as adorable as a human infant, but that is where the similarity ends. If you think your teenager is annoying, then wait until your pet monkey grows older. 

Monkeys can live to be 20 to 40 years old, and they will live with you that whole time. A moody teenager may leave your home for college and when they have a job and their own family. But a pet monkey will be in your care for as long as it lives.

4. Pet monkeys are aggressive.

Source: Pexels

Even if you had your pet monkey when it was still a baby, it could not be fully domesticated.

Monkeys are wild animals. And studies have shown that you can never change that; no training can change their nature. Your pet monkey may interpret your friendly smile and eye contact as a threat and attack you. They tend to bite, and they have 32 teeth for that. They also tend to scratch you just because they want to. There may be gentle monkeys, but they can be unpredictable and aggressive too.

Monkeys, like other primates, also have alpha dynamics. They often bond only with the person that they perceive as alpha and then consider everyone else as enemies. If you are not the alpha in your family, then brace yourself for biting, scratching, and other aggressive actions from your pet monkey.

“It will bite you and fly into rages when insignificant things happen that it does not like or for no apparent reason at all,” Ron Hines DVM PhD warns.

Some pet monkey owners resort to beating, chaining, or confining their pets when aggressive behaviors show. However, these actions are not beneficial for the pet monkey nor for any other pets.

5. Pet monkeys are messy and stinky.

Source: Pexels

Your cats and dogs can be trained to poop or pee in a specific place. Your pet monkey, however, cannot be toilet-trained. 

Monkeys respond to the call of nature anywhere they want to. They can be really stinky as well, as they tend to smear poop on themselves or paint with it wherever they want to. They are also naturally mischievous animals, so they may suddenly throw poop at you just because they feel like doing it. 

Some pet monkey owners resort to using diapers for their pets. But it is difficult to force a monkey to wear one. Other than that, using diapers for monkeys also gives them painful sores and rashes. It also stops their tail muscles from developing correctly, causing physical damage to your pet monkey.

6. Pet monkeys are noisy.

Source: Pexels

Have you ever come near a monkey cage in a zoo before? Notice how the monkeys like to converse with one another in loud noises?

Monkeys are highly disruptive; they can be very vocal and loud. Some monkeys, like howler monkeys, make noises that can be heard miles away. Owl monkeys, meanwhile, make hooting noises at night. Other monkeys grunt, whistle, and scream just because they want to. Imagine how popular you will be with your neighbors if they’re constantly bombarded with these noises day and night.

7. Pet monkeys may carry contagious diseases.

Source: Pexels

Monkeys are known to carry diseases that are dangerous and transferable to humans. These are called zoonotic diseases. Your pet monkey may carry diseases like herpes B, tuberculosis, monkeypox, and yellow fever, which they can transfer through bites or scratches. They are also susceptible to human illnesses. Human cold sores can potentially kill smaller monkeys, like marmosets and tamarins.

By owning a pet monkey, you may be bringing harm not only to yourself but also to the other members of your family and community.

8. Caring for a pet monkey is expensive.

Source: Pexels

A quick Google search shows that pet monkeys may cost between $4,000 and $8,000 each. Price may vary depending on the monkey’s age, rarity, and temperament. Often, rare and friendlier monkeys are more expensive than the other breeds. Not only are they costly to buy, but they are also pricey to care for.

Monkeys need a massive and secure enclosure. This enclosure must also be outdoors to simulate a monkey’s natural habitat. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, monkeys must be kept in a place with an area of at least 186 square feet and at least 20 feet tall. That is at least 7% of the average house size in America.

Like toddlers, monkeys also need lots of distractions to avoid boredom. They need a variety of toys and exercise equipment. This Hanging Tri-Hoop Rope Perch and Rope Ladder are excellent accessories to purchase for your pet monkey. However, take note that these toys and equipment must be changed regularly as your pet monkey can quickly get bored with it. Boredom leads to aggression.

Also, pet monkeys require a specific diet that can be very expensive. Because of this, some pet owners feed their pets with junk food. However, this is bad for the monkey’s health and may lead to diabetes, a hard and costly disease to treat.

9. You have to own more than one pet monkey!

Source: Pexels

We have already discussed that a pet monkey is expensive to buy and care for. And you need to buy more than one!

Monkeys are social animals, and they need to be around their kind all the time. If they are kept from growing up in a natural group, they may develop social and behavioral abnormalities. These abnormalities are also known as “stereotypies,” a repetitive or ritualistic movement, posture, or utterance. This includes rocking, pacing, and self-harming. This is often a sign of mental distress.

And if you decide not to keep your monkey and return it to a sanctuary, this mental distress lingers on. Your pet monkey will have trouble living with other monkeys. They may be more aggressive; they may never communicate appropriately with their kind.

10. Keeping pet monkeys is bad for their species.

Source: Pexels

Not only is it bad for you and your finances to keep a pet monkey, but it is also bad for them, as well. Do you know that baby monkeys are taken from their mother’s arm as babies to be sold as human pets?

At just a few days old, breeders separate baby monkeys from their mom. This is extremely traumatic for both the baby and the mom. Studies have shown that early separation from their mothers results in deficient social skills even years after being separated. These monkeys also tend to have depression and anxiety. This is a similar reaction to human children who have been separated from their mothers at a very young age.

“We believe that the keeping of monkeys as pets is simply cruel and, regardless of the difficulties that the owner or their family might face, it will always cause a level of suffering to the individual monkey,” shares Dr. Liz Tyson PhD.

The Verdict

There is more harm than good in owning a pet monkey. It can be tempting to own one just because it is cute or because you want to care for another living thing. But monkeys are best left in their natural habitat for their own good.

We at The Furry Companion believe that all animals should be treated with love. So, if you really want to have a cute pet, skip the monkeys and get squirrels or ferrets instead. Better yet, you can adopt a cat or dog from a shelter. With this, you are fulfilling your need to give love and the pets’ need to be loved.

Frequently Asked Questions

What states is it legal to have a pet monkey?

There are states where it is illegal to own exotic animals like monkeys, but there are those that allow provided that the owner acquires necessary permits. States that allow pet monkeys include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas

What is a good pet monkey?

Monkeys have lots of species, and it can be an overwhelming range of choices. The following are the most popular choices for pets.

  • Chimpanzee
  • Capuchin
  • Guenon
  • Tamarin
  • Marmoset
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Macaque

Do Monkeys make good pets?

Like what is in the article above, monkeys don’t make good pets. Keeping a monkey as a pet may do more harm than good to both monkey and the human.

How much is a monkey?

Owning a monkey is quite expensive. The price is around $4,000 to $8,000. It varies on the size, species, age, and temperament. There are also additional expenses when owning a monkey, like expenses for the permits, veterinary, and food.

Can a monkey kill you?

Some monkeys can kill humans because of the diseases that they may transmit to them. However, there is a specific species called Nocturnal Poisonous Monkey with a poisonous bite and can cause anaphylactic shock in humans.

Can a monkey talk?

Monkeys cannot talk. Monkeys lack sufficient supralaryngeal vocal tract that will allow them to produce human-like speech. Apart from that, monkeys do not have proper brain wiring to speak.

Do monkeys attack humans?

Monkeys can become aggressive, especially when they reach maturity. Being attacked by monkeys can be quite dangerous as their scratches and bites may transmit deadly diseases like Herpes B.

What is the friendliest monkey?

A capuchin is one of the friendliest monkeys, and therefore one of the most famous monkey pets. If you’ve seen the series Friends, Marcel, Ross’ monkey is a capuchin. This species is diurnal and arboreal. The capuchin is not hard to feed because its diet is composed of a wide range of food types.


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