By Mary Lynn Campbell
Thank you for once again joining us here on the primate care site. This time we will be talking about travel cages that will be needed for monkeys as we travel away from our homes. During this post we will not only be talking about cages but we will also be talking about important things you need to know if you choose to travel across state lines with your monkeys.
How To Choose A Travel Cage For Your Monkey
In order to choose a travel cage for a monkey we need to look at the stage of life the monkey is in. When a monkey is a baby, the cage can be small with a simple locking system but as they grow we must take into consideration their size and their behaviors as we make our decision about what will insure their safety during traveling.
I was taught to use heavy-duty plastic crates/cages. You may also read during these posts of me calling these crates/cages “the box.” When I am speaking about behavioral modification with my monkeys, I will be speaking about these types of boxes. These heavy duty plastic crates were not only made for car travel with dogs and cats but they were also made to use during airline travel.
Important Message: All of the above photos of these types of cages would need extra pieces of wires connected to the doors to keep older and smarter monkeys enclosed in these cages/crates. I also would need to add metal mesh over the openings on the sides and the front door so that the monkeys would be safe from people putting their fingers into the cages. This is a must for me because of my public presentations and as you know I am a “Safety-First” type of monkey caregiver. Monkeys get big teeth as they mature and love to chew too! They also love to pull everything into their enclosure so please think ahead and figure out what will work best for your monkey. Only open these cages to retrieve your monkey in a closed door automobile or safe space with locked doors. It is safest to not put your monkey into a cage/crate without a tether or lead on them.
Another widely used travel cage is the open wire type of cage. These types of cages allow the animals to see completely around them at the same time being a strong and secure type of travel cage. With the use of these cages you can also add a hammock to them for added comfort and fun for your monkey. These are wonderful types of cages/crates because your monkey can stand up in them. They are also sold on primatestore.com.
Both of these types of travel cages do have their pros and cons. It all depends on the regular behaviors of your monkey. I have always found that my monkeys love to be in their plastic travel cages. The back of the cage is completely enclosed without windows so when they are in them they feel safe and secure and settle down within it very quickly.
Monkeys seem to become used to whatever type of cage we start them in, I have a friend who started their monkey with a wire cage and this is what he is most comfortable using. They have now graduated to one of the custom made types of wire cages. He loves to look out the windows in their vehicle as he lays in his hammock and is very adjusted to traveling with his family.
As your monkey grows and changes you may wish to make changes in how you cage them for travel. As monkeys get their permanent teeth with their full size K-9’s, many of them will begin to chew on everything that they can pull into their cages. Some monkeys will outgrow this stage, but many will not. With the plastic travel cages, you can cover their windows and front door with mesh so they cannot pull unsafe things into their cage.
Rolling fabric travel carriages are also one of the popular types of safety cages, These can be made to be a very good source of safety for monkeys when they are reinforced and a safe locking system is added to them. With monkeys the thin screen material can easily be destroyed with fingernails and their teeth but if you are handy with a sewing machine you can easily add extra screening to these types of rolling safety carriages. Many of these types of travel carriages do come where they can be unscrewed from their frame.
Important Message: I have read of several monkeys unzipping the zippers and escaping while they are in these types of travel systems. Please use these with caution. The use of tethers and leads is always a tricky issue. Lock safely all travel equipment and remember that little monkey fingers can do almost everything that our fingers can do. When you use a lead and tether on a monkey in a smaller space, they can become twisted and wrapped around them and cause a terrible accident. Monkeys can never be left unattended when you have their safety equipment on them. You must be able to see them and know when they may become tangled up in their leads. Please make a mental note about this issue.
The fabric on most of these travel systems is very thin. So, please consider adding extra material over the windows. With monkeys who have their adult teeth, they could possibly eat through the fabric within a moments time if they wanted to escape.
This stroller was taken off the frame and then I reinforced the windows by just making new windows with plastic mesh.
I must say I really like the above carriage. It works great with Pixie and some of the other monkeys that live with me.
Maggie enjoying a walk in Gatlinburg, TN
I also did the same thing to this stroller so that it would provide better safety for the monkeys when they are out with me. Maggie is showing off her talent of staying in her carriage for the photo.
Restraints, such as a children’s safety seat or dog seats, can also be used to work as a safety restraint for some of the larger monkeys. In order for this type of safety seat to work for a monkey, he or she would need to wear a diaper, not be a chewer and be trained to be tethered to the seat. Of course, the monkey would be much more protected in a crate/cage.
If you are going to be a monkey family that spends a great amount of time traveling with your monkey, you may wish to try to maximize the size of the cage/crate that you will be using. You will wish for the monkey to be able to set up straight in their cage and also be able to freely move around in your cage selection.
If you have a monkey that will be wearing a diaper the entire time they are in their safety crate/cage, then the way you build the habitat will be different. In this type of cage you can put your special monkey’s stuffies, toys, and even put a hammock in there too as I mentioned before.
If they are not going to be diapered then you must choose toys and other things that can be easily washed and cleaned up. I always pack a great deal of clean-up products and several types of things to wipe up with after my diaper-less monkeys have traveled in their cages. I admit that there is an extreme amount of cleanup after I have taken my small troop of monkeys out on a presentation. But we all get to choose what we feel is right for our monkeys and our different lifestyles that we live with our monkeys. I feel very strongly about my monkeys not being diapered around the clock. Mine go in and out of diapers instead of being in diapers 24-7. They have been trained to wear their diapers when they come out of the cages to play or when they are doing a presentation.
Issue Centered Around “To Diaper Or Not To Diaper Your Monkey 24-7”
This diaper issue is one that I have talked about a great deal with other monkey people. The thing that I hear repeatedly is that the people who choose to keep their monkeys in diapers 24-7 are fearful to leave their monkeys out of their diapers due to feeling that they might not like to have their diapers put back on if they are taken out of them for a long period of time.
I totally understand this fear and I feel grateful that I do not have to be concerned about this issue. I know my clean-up is going to be extra but I am resigned to this issue and I know that my monks will be good when they are in their diapers but I can see that they are seriously looking forward to the time that they are free again from having a diaper on.
Because my troop of 9 monkeys are free to go to the bathroom in their crates/cages, I use air cleaners where the monkeys are located. I am so blessed to have fresh smelling spaces wherever they are. Thirty years ago when I first began traveling, it was not fresh smelling after a big trip because I did not know about air cleaners. I am very conscious about using air cleaners, and I am very pleased with their ability to keep the air clean and fresh. I even have a small cigarette lighter type of cleaner for my van now.
The Personality Of Your Monkey May Dictate What Type Of Crate/Cage That You Use or The Habitat That You Choose To Put Into Their Selected Safety Cage
If you have a monkey who sleeps while traveling you may wish to use one of the special custom built cages that is offered for sale on our sister site called: primatestore.com. These special wire cages are built for all different types of monkeys. They are also designed to put hammocks in the top of them for those sleepy traveling monkeys or even the little tender hearted new monkeys who just want you to touch them through the cage wires.
These cages can easily be adapted to put them on baby carriages or other rolling types of transporting equipment. Please take the time to check out the different types and sizes of these wonderful cages that are available. Please remember also that they have different types of sizes of wire that you can get to make the pulling of everything into their cages almost impossible. I feel that you will find these popular cages really great for traveling to monkey gatherings and many other monkey related meetings such as the wonderful SSA (Simian Society of America) gatherings and meetings.
If you are interested in becoming a member of this highly educational group, please go to www.simiansociety.org. This site is where you will be directed as to what to do to join. Their monthly “The Simian Magazine” is also part of the membership fee. It is crammed with wonderful educational information, and I really look forward to knowing that every month my magazine will come in the mail.
The Simian Magazine
IMPORTANT WARNING: It is never safe to leave your monkey’s safety equipment on them in any cage/crate. Please avoid this from becoming an easy way for an accident to happen to your beloved monkey.
Please know that learning about monkeys and what to do and what not to do is an ongoing process. You will hear and read many different or conflicting things at times which might confuse you. When it comes to your monkey you must listen for your inner guidance. I like to call this the peace of God. If I lose my peaceful feeling as to what to do in a particular situation with a monkey, then I know that I need to wait and do nothing until peaceful thoughts arrive to guide me.
Recently, I was getting ready to take a trip to Ohio from Tennessee. When I knew for sure that I was going to make the trip, I started the planning stage of securing the monkeys at home with my husband, Bob. He would need to be able to feed and care for the monkeys so that I could take the weekend trip.
Every time I saw myself making the trip (in my mind’s eye) I would lose my peace about leaving my newest addition to the troop at home. She is a tiny little Squirrel monkey that is not yet fully grown. So, due to this feeling, I decided to take her with me.
When my veterinarian had his assistant call Ohio to find out what they required in their state, she was told that Squirrel monkeys were not allowed to be brought into the state. Well, this was a little crazy sounding to me so I ask for the telephone number of the office of “Veterinary Services” in Ohio and the name of the person that she talked to.
After receiving this information, I called to speak with the person that had given her the information. While speaking with her she decided to route my call to the head of her department’s voice mailbox, due to him being out of the office until the next day.
Bright and early the next day his call came through and I began to tell him my dilemma. He carefully looked into the newest set of rules and found that it had been changed and that Squirrel monkeys were allowed into the state but that I would need my veterinarian to send him a fax of the health certificate and he would then issue a permit number to go on the health certificate. So, that very day I took Kizzy down for her health certificate examination and gave the secretary the number to fax the certificate.
I breathed a big sigh of relief after Kizzy was finished at the veterinarian’s office. Later that afternoon, I went by the farm to see my family and to check on my motor home which is stored there. When we were at the farm I reached in the carry bag for Kizzy and introduced her to my sister (who also loves the monkeys.) To my disbelief, Kizzy showed her level of stress by biting my sister’s hand right after she came out of her carry bag.
I was absolutely devastated that this had happened but at the same time I was so thankful that it had happened to her and not anyone else. I apologized repeatedly to her and asked her to quickly go and get the bite cleaned and bandaged. She and I laughed together over what had just happen so quickly with Kizzy and then she assured me that she would take good care of the bite and then said, “Please do not worry about this, Mary Lynn.”
Guess What Happened Next? I totally lost my peace about taking Kizzy with me to the event my friend Lisa and I were going to attend in Ohio. I knew without a doubt that she was not ready to be shared with people due to her newness to our troop, her age and of course many other factors. All of the trouble and expense that I had gone through to obtain a health certificate for her, did not matter to me because the most important thing was that I no longer felt peaceful about taking her with us.
Things worked out great, and I could see throughout the trip why it was best for me to not have taken her on our trip. When we returned, my little Kizzy was very happy to see us, as well as all of the other monkeys. The time away from Kizzy was a wonderful experience for her. She depended on my husband to care for her and the other monkeys of my troop to enhance her life. She grew in maturity and was able to learn how to embrace her life away from me. I feel much better to leave her at home on day trips since she did so well while I was gone. I hope this story is helpful to you in the future as you are learning to listening for guidance to lead you on your best pathway.
“Kizzy” looking to see if she heard our voices, when we returned from our trip.
Lisa and I out with “Silly Willy” and Pixie on one of our day trips for the SunShine MonkeyShines’s presentations.
“Leroy” greeting the children.
“Silly Willy” wants to know, “Where are my treats?”
“Pixie” loves her Godmother. She is always eager to see her when she comes into the house!
“Maggie Mae” decided several years ago that she likes to stay home instead of going to the presentations.
“Cheech” our oldest monkey, is also glad to have me return home after any trip. She is in her 50’s and has lost most of her hearing and eye site. She is still playful and happy even as old as she is.
Information About States And Travel Information
I believe now, since the rules and regulations in regards to primate travel across the country have changed, that the very best thing to do is to call and check with each state that you wish to travel through or to. By doing this you will have the necessary updated information which will give you peace of mind when traveling.
When traveling into the state of Tennessee, it is necessary for you to have a current health certificate. These types of certificates are only good for thirty days and can be obtained through your primate’s veterinarian.
As far as the other states. please make your calls. I would start by calling the state’s department of “Wildlife and Animal Control or the State’s Veterinarian’s Office.” If you are traveling through many of the different states on your way to your destination, they will usually give you a number of hours that you can be in their states.
Many of the attractions in states that you might be wanting to go to may also have restrictions against monkeys. Dollywood in Sevier County, Tennessee, is one that will not allow them to come into their park. So, it is a good idea to call ahead of time to see what the policies are of the attractions that you may wish to go to as you are traveling with your monkey.
We Here At Primate Care Believe In Being “Safety-First” Type Of Caregivers
Please take the time to read the 12 posts about safety in the archives of our site and remember where they are located for future reference. We never know when we will need carefully thought out help to refer back to, when an emergency happens. Our site is here to be truly helpful in all areas of care for your monkey. Happy Travels Everyone And Have “Safe-First” Travels!
Monkeys-Monkeys-Monkeys … Oh, How I Love Them All!
Choose to Become a Great 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 talking about ways to gather more helpful information about caring for monkeys.
Written by Mary Lynn Campbell author of “Living With Monkeys”