By Ivan Crab

During recent years, the feeding of PRIMATES has undergone significant changes, as more has been discovered about their nutritional needs.   The pets market of today provide different “monkey pellets” , pelleted diets they are usually well balanced but they can not by given at the expense of a varied diet.

It is no coincidence that when breeding began in earnest during the 1950s, it was the OLD WORLD species which reproduced most successfully in collections. This is because MONKEYS such as the MACACA species were best-suited to thrive and breed on a diet composed of little more than vegetables and fruits.

The needs of other species are more complex. Certainly in captivity they thrive when offered a diet which contains a relatively high proportion of vegetables and fruit.

Although it may be possible to maintain primates satisfactorily on a suboptimal diet, the likelihood of reproductive success is greatly reduced as a result.

The gum-feeding primates, notably the cebuella , are perhaps the most specialist members of the group in terms of their nutritional requirements. Early writers describe how such monkeys were traditionally fed a mixture of cake soaked in milk ect … Today however, there is a variety of animal foods substitutes on the market, and such problems have been eliminated, with cebuela proving amongst the most prolific primates in captivity.

Correct food, in proper and suitable amounts, together with regular feeding, is an all-important factor in keeping primates in good condition.It is impossible to overstress the importance of food.. Incorrect food is a common cause of problems and disease.. I have never heard of a primate starving to death but have known many that died of overfeeding in the sense they d’t receive proper food (sugar-chocolates-fat ect ..).

Monkeys do not actually differ in their basic nutritional requirements from ourselves. Their diet needs to be composed of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, with vitamins, minerals and trace elements being necessary.

The majority of the primates are omnivorous and require animal protein, however there are a lot of exceptions . It is not possible to recommend a standard diet, a lot of primates are specialized feeders, and there nutritional requirements have to by balanced according there natural habitudes.

MARMOSETS and TAMARINS, are increasingly kept as pets and have the advantage to by small quantity heaters , but they are food specialist in the genus or species there food habitude is different and need adaptations.

Although widely different rations are used by different breeders, there are certain fundamentals which must be recognized to procure the best results.  One of the primary requisites of satisfactory feeding is regularity . The quantity of food required can be determined only by carefully watching the primates
habitudes . Of considerable importance also is the difference in ration requirements for the various classes of primates.

In the wild state, primates must work for a living; all day long they hunt, scratch and search, thus getting plenty of exercise. At the same time, they are constantly on the lookout for enemies.  In captivity they have nothing to do, except eat – playing.“They stand around and get little or no exercise.” Feeding primates should by done in such a way as to stimulate there natural foraging activity, also seasonal feeding is according me a must (I mean that you have to change your feeding tables according to the seasonal disposability of fruits and  vegetables).

All monkeys in captivity require a big source of vitamin, Neo-Tropical Primates need more d3 and c vitamins than the Old World Primates

Beware because the amount of protein , vitamins , minerals varies with a lot of factors:

species – age – pregnancy – lactation – health – ect ….

Some important tips:

  • All the ingredients has to be sugar free.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be washed before feeding.  (pseudotuberculosis – toxic products – salmoneloses ect …)
  • Use only fresh goods. (salmoneloses – parasites ect …)
  • Don’t feed raw meat , baby mice’s , cockroaches.  (toxoplasmonia,protozoa, helminths,worms …)

I include some tables.  This tables do not HAVE to be respected as a fact , they are only the result of my experience.

30% yoghurt
5% tofu or cheeses
5% Soya extr.
45% cereals flakes
10% banana
5% nuts – dry fruits
10% yoghurt
30% baby food
45% cereals flakes
10% banana
5% nuts – dry fruits
45% cereals flakes
15% EEG (row or boiled)
15% Soya extr.
25% others


20% nuts pasta
75% dry cakes
2% honey
3% grape sugar
(cereals): flakes of
40% corn
30% wheat
30% oats
(nuts pasta)
15% coco
25% brazilnuts
5% peanut
15% pineseed
5% hazelnut
10% chestnut
5% almond
10% sunflowerseed
(dry fruits)


Gumi MENU 1
95% Rasped apple
5% Gumi powder on (like sugar)
Gumi MENU 2
30% Gumi powder
70% WaterCebuela
Gumi MENU 3
20% Banana
20% Gumi
60% WaterCebuela-Callitrix
Gumi MENU 4
10% Banana
5% Cucumber
15% Baby Food “Canned”
25% Gumi
50% Water


Fruits : mango – pineapple – apple – pear – citrus fruits – kiwi – grape -cherry – plum – peach – apricot – melon – berry fruits –
date – figs – avocado – tomato (BANANA in gumi or menu)
Folia : endive – chicory- carrot – paprika – cucumber – cabbage – sweet corn – soybean sprouts
Insects: Grashoppers, mealworms and crickets (no cockroaches)
Cat Food: “dry”
Meat: poultry – fish “boiled only”
Pellets: Commercial food

Vitamins-oligo :polyvitamins and oligo…daily in menu or gumid3..daily in menu or gumic.. 2x week in menu or gumi

Minerals-others-oligo:cal-d3-phos..daily in menu or gumming cure ..4x per year during 10 days in menu or drinking waterfe..3x week in menu or gumi 


(Pygmy Marmoset)

Fruits 30%
Menu 5%
Folia 5%
Animal-Origin and Menu 10%
“Gumi” menu 35%
Pellets 15%



Fruits 40 %
Menu 5%
Folia 5%
Animal-Origin and Menu 10%
“Gumi” menu 25%
Pellets 15%



Fruits 50 %
Menu 10%
Folia 10%
Animal-Origin and Menu 10%
“Gumi” menu 5%
Pellets 15%


(lion tamarins)

Fruits 40 %
Menu 10%
Folia 15%
Animal-Origin and Menu 20%
“Gumi” menu 5%
Pellets 10%



Fruits 60 %
Menu 5%
Folia 5%
Animal-Origin and Menu 15%
“Gumi” menu 5%
Pellets 10%


(Squirrel Monkey)

Fruits 45 %
Menu 5%
Folia 20%
Animal-Origin and Menu 5%
“Gumi” menu 5%
Pellets 20%

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