Primates are one of the most attractive animals in our animal kingdom. But, they are unpredictable, destructive, expensive and they need a lot of care and attention. Since some of them can live for over 40 years, they truly are a life-time commitment. Are you the person that is willing to spend most of their free time with their monkey? Before you consider buying a monkey, you have to learn as much as possible about them. Read books, use the internet, try to visit somebody who has primates at home, join primate mailing lists, find primate owners on social networking sites like facebook so you can learn as much about them as possible before obtaining your own monkey. Some people prefer marmosets, while others prefer squirrel monkeys or capuchins. It is important you do the necessary research to find out which species fits you best.
Before buying a primate you have to be sure that it is legally allowed to keep primates where you live. Some places don’t allow to keep certain or any primates, others need a permit. In you live in the USA, check with your local USDA to find if primate ownership is legal in your state.
Monkeys are very expensive animals. The actual purchase of your monkey is truly just the beginning. You will have to build a large cage even if you buy a small primate like a marmoset. Don’t even think about buying a large parrot cage, they are really too small. You will also need to provide cooling, heating and lighting. A monkeys diet consists of commercial primate food, fresh food, fresh or cooked vegetables, cereal, eggs, grasshoppers, meat, nuts, … So, if you can’t afford $3 a day for their care you can’t buy one.
Monkeys are very social animals. If you are not home all the time, you will have to buy a companion for him. Realize when you buy a monkey that it will be nearly impossible for you to travel since it is very hard to find somebody who can and will take care of your monkey.
If you are going to let your monkey run around in your house you will have to keep an eye on them all the time. Larger monkeys (like capuchins) are able to open refrigerators, doors even with a lock on it, turn over furniture, swing in the curtains, open windows and escape.
All monkeys bite. I guess it is needles to say that a baboon will bite a lot harder than a marmoset. Even with reduced teeth it will still hurt. If you take your monkey out in public you have to realize that when it would bite someone else that it could result in the loss of your monkey. They are very unpredictable so one minute they might be hugging you and the next minute they might suddenly bite you in your ear.
Make sure you find a vet specialized in primates before you buy your monkey. The first thing you should do after you bought your monkey is going to a primate vet for a check up. We hear to many times that people can’t find a good vet for their monkey when they really need one.
It’s time for a reality check. Forget about those movies where you see a monkey perform all kinds of tricks. Unless you are a professional animal trainer you won’t be able to teach your monkey a lot of tricks. If that is the reason why you want a monkey or if it is just to show-off, you will probably be the first to get ride of them again.
So why would anybody ever want a monkey after knowing all this ? Non-human primates are so closely related to us that it scares and excites us at the same. It is so incredible to see how they eat like we do, how they can climb, how they like to play hide and seek, how curious they are… Some monkey owners say their monkey is a family member, others talk about their children but they have all one thing in common: they love their monkeys so much they will do the impossible, and if that wouldn’t be enough they would try even harder.