Primate Diet

Marmosets EatingFeeding time is one of the most important moments in a monkeys day.  Therefore it is very important that you take the necessary time to prepare it.

A varied diet is very important to avoid boredom and loss of appetite.   Commercial primate diet should be included in their meal because it is very balanced and therefore healthy food for your monkey.

Make sure that fresh water is available at all times.

Feed your monkey twice a day.

For monkeys like spiders, capuchins, squirrels, marmosets and tamarins you should hang up your bowl or your feeding platform.

Depending on the size of your monkey you will have to cut up the food in bigger or smaller pieces.

Vitamins are very important for primates.  Especially new world primates (like marmosets and tamarins) need extra vit D3 if they are kept indoors (do not overdose).  When they don’t have enough direct sunlight extra vitamins are required (or the use of Vitalights) to prevent them from getting metabolic bone disease such as crickets.

Never feed your monkey raw meat, baby mice’s or cockroaches (toxoplasmonia, protozoa, helminthes,worms …).

Make sure that your fresh vegetables and fresh fruits is washed before feeding.

So what do I need to feed my monkey ?

  • Commercial primate diet
  • Fresh fruit like mango, apple, papaya, grapes, banana, …
  • Fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber, fennel, onions, cauliflower, tomato, …
  • Cooked vegetables like peas, cauliflower, green beans, …
  • Baby cereal
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Cooked meat like chicken and turkey
  • Cooked fish
  • Rice
  • Seeds, grains and nuts
  • Insects like mealworms and grasshoppers
Zupreem Primate Diet

Arbic Gum for Gum FeedersMarmosets and bushbabies are known as gum-feeders.  With their sharp teeth they gnaw holes in trees to get the gum. In the wild they spend 1/3 of their time doing this. Besides the fact that “it will keep them busy for a while”, it’s also a source of energy, calcium and other minerals. It is known that also other species like squirrels or tamarins like arabic gum.  Mix one part of powder with two parts of water (or fruit juice).   After two to three hours it’s ready for distribution. Drill some holes into wood (like branches or bamboo) and fill them with this prepared gum.

In the wild primates have to hunt and search for food so they get a lot of exercise and it keeps them busy.  In captivity it is also very important that your monkey is busy all the time to avoid boredom.  If you just give all their food in a bowl, they will be done eating in minutes so perhaps it isn’t a bad idea to make your monkey search and work for his food.  Here are a few ideas to keep your monkey busy with eating :

  • Put their favorite food in a box which they have to open before being able to access it.
  • Hang up a plastic pipe horizontally with small holes in it and put some bedding and mealworms inside it.  Your monkey will have to wait till a mealworm crawls out before he can eat it.
  • Use a plastic bucket with a hole in it (size of your monkeys hand) and put some fruits or vegetables in it.  The nice thing about this bucket is that they can only take one piece at the time and there is also something like a surprise effect for them.
  • The use of several small feeding bowls on different places can be a good idea too.

We also have a list of Primate Recipes at your disposal.  Make sure to try them out!

Note on Marmoset Diet Picture: Terrie explained to me that she spends a lot of time preparing meals for her marmosets. Here is what she said on what’s in their food bowl: “Fresh spinach with eggs & olive oil, black olives, fresh mushrooms, chicken sticks, cooked yellow squash, fresh green beans, fresh sweet potatoes, pasta with cooked veggies, fruit gumivore fare (with marmoset diet, yogurt & fresh cranberries all put into food processer).  My babies eat pretty good!  I fix 2 plates for them all 3 to share everyday but sometimes switch the veggies & add shrimp or a fish of some kind.   Then of course I always give them meal or wax worms every day as well.”

Monkey Balls

March 3, 2012 7:17 pm

Monkey Cereal Balls

I guess the proper term for monkey balls would be monkey cereal balls but that’s not what we call them in our house.  They’re a pretty healthy snack but can also be fed as part of their main diet.  Creativity is key when creating monkey balls.  As long as you have the two main ingredient (baby formula and baby cereal) in your mix, you’re golden!  I used to feed monkey balls to my marmosets and now my capuchin and they truly enjoy it.   I actually got the original recipe (similar to mine but not as creative)  from one of the largest zoos in Belgium.  They used to feed these monkey balls to all their primates.

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Posted in feeding

What do you feed your monkey?

February 22, 2012 4:53 am

As I mentioned in the diet section of this site, it is important you take the necessary time to prepare the diet of your monkey(s) and also to provide a varied diet.  While that is all easier said then done, many primate owners often have a hard time coming up with changes in the diet of their monkeys.  On top of that, the goal of this blog is to point out that many primate owners often deviate from the suggested ideal diet just like us human primates.  While reading this blog, please keep in mind that the goal of this page is only to inform you what others feed their monkeys, not to help you choose the right diet.  Special thanks to Irwin for the above picture.

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Are raw sprouts safe for monkeys?

February 12, 2012 6:10 am

Raw Sprouts

While sprouts do contain excellent nutrients and are often used as part of a monkeys’ diet, they’re truly not recommended for all monkeys.

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Raising Mealworms

December 30, 2011 7:46 am

By Marlene Bezuidenhout

Mealworms are a good source of protein and they contain twelve of the sixteen elements found in living tissue. They are rich in vitamin A which is essential for growth and rich in vitamin B which is necessary for maintaining the nervous system. The better you feed your mealworms the higher quality food you produce for your monkeys. more...

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Arabic Gum

December 30, 2011 6:13 am

Marmosets and Bushbabies are known to be gum feeders. With their sharp teeth they gnaw holes in trees to get the gum. In the wild they spend 1/3 of their time doing this.  Besides the fact that “it will keep them busy for a while”, it’s also a source of energy, calcium and other minerals. It is more...

Posted in bush baby, enrichment, feeding, marmoset

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