Traveling with your monkey

By Mary Lynn Campbell

traveling with monkeys
Traveled to Ohio for a 4th of July Event

Once again on the Safety-First posting for Primate Care we are discussing an issue that I just happen to have 26 years of experience in doing. Yes, I have been traveling with monkeys now for over twenty-six years. We have traveled together in every type of vehicle and weather condition. Silly Willy, who is the star of the series of “Living With Monkeys” books was even taken on a boat trip!

By now, if you are a regular reader of these postings you know that I am a list maker and a user of these lists. This was taught to me by my mother years ago. These lists have proven to be the very best way for me to be prepared and get things done in my life as a wife, a monkey caregiver and the owner of two small businesses. So here we go.

Getting Ready to Travel List:

  • Remember to check out weather condition where you will be traveling to.
  • The weather conditions are going to determine what you will choose to carry with you for cold weather conditions. You may wish to carry extra blankets to cover your travel crate for your monkey and an extra heat source for emergencies in your vehicle.
  • In your “Monkey Care Kit” (if you are going from warm to cold climates) your kit could have some kid’s Benadryl for sneezing that might start. I also like to carry a small Sicks heating unit if breathing issues were to occur with a monkey. I have noticed when taking my monks from a warm climate to a cold climate or visa versa that they have tendencies to develop excessive sneezing. I wish to always be prepared for the possibility of this turning into something more serious so that is why I chose to take these things that I have just listed.
  • If you are traveling from cold to warm you will wish to carry fans to keep the air moving around your monkey in case of emergencies.  Remember to carry ice packs in your cooler for your monkey if they were to overheat in your vehicle. I also like to carry umbrellas to block direct sunlight when I am with one of my monks. It is many degrees cooler under an umbrella on a hot day than without one.
    monkey umbrella shade
    Polly Walley (Age 32)
  • In your “Monkey Care Kit” (if you are going from cold to warm climate) you will wish to pack a cool bottle of water with an ice pack.
  • In your “Monkey Care Kit” you should care several different documents with you as you travel.
    • Ownership documents
    • Medical records
    • State license or permits to drive through certain states
    • A document which lists the name and telephone number of who to call in case something happens to you and your monkey needs to be picked up and taken to a safe place (I also carry a catch net for the monks if I were to need one)

Different monkeys will respond differently to extreme temperature changes.  

I have noticed that in Capuchin monks that the Black and Whites, Weepers, Wedge-Caps and Cinnamons are not as good in the heat as the Black-Caps. I have found it also to be true that the Black Caps do not do as well in the colder weather. So because I have several different types of Capuchins I choose to remember this information and be prepared in case there is an emergency illness while I am traveling.

Due to so many of the states banning primates, it has now become necessary for you to check your possible routes for your trips.

I have heard many people talk about avoiding these states when they are traveling. The other very important change that has taken place is that it is no longer legal to bring primates into Florida without an Importation Permit. In order, to get these you are now required to document 1,000 hours of monkey care per species. It takes about two weeks to get this permit after you have sent in all of the necessary paperwork.

To get more information it will be necessary for you to contact the Florida Fish and Game. They will be glad to direct you to the website so that you can get the necessary paperwork and learn more about what they expect for you to put on the 1,000 hour log.

Changes are coming quickly for us primate people across this country. Florida is one of the states that has taken great efforts in requiring state licensing for years and years. I was shocked that they have taken this next step to insuring that people who are handling the primates in their state are experienced people. They are determined that all monkey people entering their state as visitors be required to give them a detail itinerary where they will be visiting in their state. So please take this information about the changes in Florida and pass it along to other monkey caregivers.

Kentucky is now requiring monkey people to get a travel permit also.

monkey performer
Traveled To Florida With Andi (age5) Traveled To Kentucky (1989)

Story Time

In my travels I have only had one time when I had to use my emergency fans and umbrella. This just happened to be about three years ago when my engine on my van locked up and shut down. Silly Willy was the only monkey with me at the time. I remember being so glad that I had my emergency summer time things with me because we had to wait over an hour for a wrecker to come to get us.

When an emergency happens such as this, I am so much calmer and feel much more in control of my ability to care for my monks when I have the necessary things packed away. My umbrella and battery operated fans were ready to be used within moments after the van shut down and the ice packs came in very handy on that day as well.

In emergency situations like this one, the very first thing that I think of is my monkey. Once again I was so thankful that I had planned ahead for this type of emergency. When I leave home with the monkeys, I try to be at total peace knowing that I have what I will need in case something might happen. Peace of mind is everything to me during this time of my life.

capuchin with kids
In Alabama Silly Willy (age7)

capuchin in vehicle
In Greenville, TN Silly Willy (age4)

A Friend’s Story

My friends had a terrible accident with their two monkeys one hot summer afternoon just a few summers ago. While their two monks were playing together an accidental biting happened. One Black-Cap bit off the end of the other Black-Cap’s finger. They decided that the vet who was a couple hours away was going to have to work on the finger, so they gathered up the monkey and their diaper bag and left as soon as they could. Their visit to the vet went very well. It had been a traumatic event but they had heard of other people’s monkeys having accidents when they were playing, so they chose to look at it as an accident that turned out to be okay. Of course, they knew it was going to take a while for the wound to heal for the little girl monkey but they were so thankful that it had not been something much worse.

As they were traveling home on the trip with the injured monkey the van started having problems and they were on the side of the road with the hot summer heat and sunlight beating down on all of them. They had rushed out of the house so fast that they were not prepared for this type of emergency in their van. They did not have cold packs, fans, or anything to keep the summer sun from heating them up as they were waiting for their van to cool down.

They told me that from now on they will always give the necessary thoughts to how their van is stocked in case they have an emergency when they have a monkey with them. Of course, we all understand when we are in an emergency situation, we are not thinking normally. We are reacting to the emergency.

I do hope that you will learn from both of our monkey stories to be prepared. My friends have always been highly motivated monkey caregivers and wish always to be able to give the necessary care to their monkeys. This proved to be an easy lesson for them because they were able to continue driving after the van cooled down and made it home within a few hours. The monkey healed up nicely and the car problem was fixed the following week. They knew the way the two girl monkeys greeted each other, when they returned home from their trip to the vet, that they would be seeing them playing again one day soon.

What are some of the other things that you might put into a “Monkey Care Kit” for traveling?

Of course a “Monkey Care Kit” is an individual preference type of kit which is designed to your special needs in caring for your monkey but there are some must haves in your kit as I have already listed above. The following list will give you some idea of what I carry in mine.

“Monkey Care Kit” List

  • Diapers, wipes, and outfits or diaper covers
  • Extra leads and belly belts
  • Black electrical ties and flexible strong wire in case I have a problem with a lock on a cage
  • Wire snips, scissors
  • Extra bottles and cold pack around cool water
  • Nail files, antibiotic cream, band-aids, stop bleed spray, liquid band-aid, small first aid kit which has wound cleaning things in it and other things such as gauge. I will also carry paper towels, clean wash cloth and a small towel, sticky type bandage tape, Epsom salts, a small dish to soak a monks hand or foot, and of course, kid’s Tylenol for pain or temperatures.
  • I like also to carry a small sewing kit with me for outfit problems
  • My document bag is always with me when I have a monkey in a vehicle
  • Trash bags in several sizes,monkey healthy snacks and water
  • Maggie Mae’s needles and insulin and her protein snacks and suckers for her possible low times and her testing equipment
  • Battery fans for warm temperatures and portable LP heater and extra blankets for cold temperatures during possible emergency breakdowns while traveling.
  • The other things that my van, motor home and car are equipped with is, of course, is a roadside assistance safety kit that has jumper cables and things like this in it

One of the things that my Papa shared with me years ago when I started to travel was to always carry tools, hose clamps, black electrical tape and other simple things in a small tool box. He said , “Mary Lynn, if you have tools with you then someone will be more likely to help you when you have an emergency.” I still have the tool box that he put together for me to this day in my motor home.

monkey in camper
Papa (age 23) 1925 / In Motor Home Pincher (age 3)

Me having those tools on hand has proven to be very helpful many times through the years. I have always been so blessed with good help when I have had minor break downs. I have always believed that God will send me an angel to help me and He has always done this.

Anyone who has been asked to travel with me in the (Monkey Mobile) knows that I am always prepared!. I even have a mobile air cleaner that I carry with me. I guess you would say maybe I am even a little over prepared. Lol. The monks are my hairy family and I always wish to be prepared for absolutely any type of emergency that might come up while traveling. I am sure if I had been a regular mom I would have been overly prepared too!

Please consider becoming a “Safety First” Monkey Caregiver!

Thank you for visiting us here at Primate Care. We are committed to bringing good information for you to think about and share with your family, friends, and other monkey caregivers. In the next posting on the Primate Care site we will be speaking about another great “Safety First” issue and that will be: “Monkeys and Children Living Together.”

Written by Mary Lynn Campbell author of  “Living With Monkeys”


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