By Mary Lynn Campbell
Silly Willy (age 3)
Welcome once again to the primate care site. The creator of this site and I are both very passionate about helping other monkey enthusiasts to gain good information on becoming great monkey caregivers.
Although we’re one of the oldest sites out there regarding primate care, we’re just one of the many available resources regarding the care for primates. About thirty years ago, when I first became a monkey caregiver, there were no search engines or Facebook groups to gather intel, and most of the information was passed along by other monkey owners. In today’s world, information is much more readily available.
Social media has literally changed my life. I realized from the very beginning of adding it into my busy life that there was a big world out there full of other monkey owners. After just a few months of being involved in reading and posting on Facebook, I began enjoying adding other monkey owners to my friends list. Some of them were new to owning a monkey, and then others were like myself trying to make connections with other monkey owners. Before I knew it, I had several hundred friends and I was added to many of the groups that offer help with diet, monkey enrichment ideas, and of course, information about the day to day living with monkeys.
During the early months of adding Facebook into my life, I realized that I needed to finish the book that I had started about living with monkeys. It was so important for me to give people, who were interested in getting a monkey, some true information about what it is like to have one.
There have been a number of people who have said to me. “I wish that I had read your book before I obtained my monkey.” There have been others who have said, “Thank you for explaining in more detail many of the things that can happen in your life after obtaining a monkey. Finally, for the very best comment or question about my book, “When are you going to add the next book called “The Toddler Book?”
My response to the last question is this, “I am not sure when this book will be finished but if you master the “Living With Monkey, The Baby Book” and read the post that are archived on this site, from me and many others, then you will be on your way to raising a happy, well adjusted monkey.
I feel that this special space is what inspires us to always be eager to learn more about how to care for them so let’s begin to discuss the ways of gathering monkey information.
Facebook: There is good information and not so good information which is talked about in some of the Facebook monkey caregivers groups but it is always our job as monkey owners to decide for ourselves if we wish to agree or disagree with what we read. As I always say, when writing these posts, “It is very important for everyone to gather information but then rely on peace to guide you to any changes that you might wish to make in the care of your monkey. You, as the caregiver of your monkey, always know your own monkey best of all. What is right for another persons monkey isn’t necessarily right for yours. Our journey with these wonderful creatures of God’s must be taken with His guidance of peace and that also goes for your decision about being a monkey caregiver or not.”
Gathering Monkey Information
To me there seems to be four category’s of monkey information. The first category is information about monkeys who live in the wild. The second category of monkey information deals with why monkeys should not be kept as pets. The third category has to do with how to care for monkeys in your home or in captivity and then there is the fourth category of information and that is of course YouTube.
- Information About Monkeys Who Live In The Wild: When searching on the web, you will find lots of reading materials and videos related to how primates live in the wild. Before you consider adding a monkey into your life, it is highly recommended that you learn more about their natural behavior. Each species is different so this will be a great starting point on trying to figure out which species is perfect for you.
- Information About Why Monkeys Do Not Make Good Pets: During your searches you will frequently come across information that will encourage you to not keep monkeys as pets. These articles are also very important to read. It has always been my belief that monkeys do not make good pets due to them becoming like a member of your family similar to a child. If you become a monkey caregiver and do not understand this statement in its truth, you may not be able to be successful with having a monkey in your home.Something amazing started to happen after I received my first monkey. I began to be a person who would tell people that “Monkeys do not make good pets.” With the addition of Facebook into my life, I found that many other owners also make the same statements which was such a shock to me. I thought that most of the new friends that I had made would see it differently, but to my surprise that was not the case. Many owners of monkeys have said these same words to others too.
Please do not pass up reading an article that does not agree with your ideas about people having monkeys as pets. You may read some important things that are mentioned so you can ask your mentor or monkey friend about. Networking is amazing and the information that is shared is meant for you to process and come to understand why certain things happen or do not happen.
- Information About How To Live With Monkeys In Your Home: This type of information can also be easily found on search engines and social media. Social media seems to have grown with leaps and bounds in being able to connect us with many other monkey owners. Learning from searched articles, monkey friendships and different sites like ours, are a very helpful way to begin your education into owning and living with monkeys. When you are seriously considering becoming a monkey owner, you are hungry to learn exactly how other successful owners have raised their monkeys in captivity.An Important Message: Monkeys are much closer to being like a child than they are to being like a dog or a cat. So, with this said, it means that everyone of them is going to be different just like children who have very different physical and emotional needs. Some monkeys will be smarter than others and there are even some of them who should have never made their way into a home setting. All monkeys grow and change and many of them can become terrible, horrible, very bad pets, especially if they are not raised with flexibility and your ability to make changes as soon as a problem develops. Monkeys fall under their own unique category and their natural God given natures must always be taken into consideration when living with them in your home. Don’t forget, if monkeys were so easy to raise and live with, then why are there so many rules and regulations being put into law to keep monkeys from being brought into many of our states?
- Information That May Be Gathered From Watching Videos On YouTube: YouTube videos have made many people want to have a monkey since they’re always shown in the best possible light. It is very important to remember that you are just seeing moments of what it is like to own a monkey. Please do not say to yourself, “Well if they can do it then I can do it too!” Another statement I have heard over and over again is, “I have always wanted a monkey. I am such an animal person and all animals just love me as much as I love them. I am getting myself a monkey.”Yes, the videos can give us a glimpse into these family’s lives who are living with a monkey in their homes, but all the challenging things that happen behind the scenes, are usually not filmed and shown on YouTube. Nevertheless, this is another great way for all of us to gain helpful information so we can continue to educate ourselves about living with them.
I wish that I had time to watch more monkey videos. I love seeing people who are being successful. I have heard many owners wish that they had known not to do certain things with their monkey and these people now are great educators about what not to do.
Please do not make up your mind quickly about bringing a monkey into your life without doing research. The last thing any of us current monkey caregivers need is another accident or problem that will be added to the “negative list” which could be one more problem for successful monkey owners.
I believe that truly helpful information is a big key to being successful with having a monkey to share your life with, and that it is equally important to fully understand how demanding they can be on your time, patience, money, and the magnitude of things that you must sacrifice in your life in order to have them.
Please Do Your Homework
In the advertisement that I wrote for my book, I said it this way, “If you are going to spend thousands of dollars and drive hundreds of miles to obtain a monkey, then please spend $12.95 for the book called “Living With Monkeys.” Gathering facts and good information about caring for monkeys is a great thing to do before you decide to obtain one. You may learn that your lifestyle will adapt perfectly to having a monkey or you may feel that the timing is just not right for you to have one for you and your family.
Make sure to also visit primatestore.com where they have other helpful books available regarding primate care. The owner of the site, who has been a monkey caregiver for many years, has invited other vendors to offer their monkey friendly products for sale on there as well. Besides books, you can also find monkey diaper covers, many primate enrichment devices, foraging units, indestructible water bottles, and of course monkey food and treats..
When buying a monkey from a breeder or broker, make sure to do your homework. Some have a wonderful reputation and then others do not. All people who have a business with selling monkeys have had things happen to monkeys that they have sold. This is just the nature of the business. We who go to purchase an expensive monkey do not have a guarantee that everything is going to go perfect and that they are going to be able to live out their life expectancy in captivity. As a reminder, do not fall for the many online scams where people offer a monkey for a small adoption fee or way below market value.
It is imperative that you ask questions that will be helpful for you to get the feeling about what type of monkey breeder or dealer that they might be. In my book I have mentioned things to look and listen for when speaking with the person that you are thinking about purchasing a monkey from. Almost all will offer (help sheets) which will be great for you to have during the very early days of feeding and caring for a baby monkey.
If you are thinking about purchasing a monkey that is a re-homed monkey, then may I suggest that you have prior monkey experience. These monkeys more than likely have been through traumatic experiences and may need tender loving care and an experienced hand to bring them around to feeling settled and happy in their new home.
Networking With Other Monkey Owners: If you have a person who lives close to you or a good friend that has a monkey, this is a wonderful thing but please do not make the mistake in believing that things in your life are going to be the same when you get your monkey. Each monkey is different and each of our homes is different too. Networking is important but there is never just one person that knows everything about monkeys and their individual ways of being in captivity. Listen and learn from what everyone has to say.
The SSA (Simian Society Of America): This is a group that you should seriously think about becoming a member of. There are so many helpful members in this society. It is for people who have all different types of monkeys and it is a very old organization. Every month a new issue of their wonderful monthly magazine comes to your mail box and it always has suggestions about monkey habitats, care ideas, special recipes for snacks and so much more I think you will find what I have found and that is a very special group of people who will help you grow more knowledgeable about all different types of monkeys.
Visit simiansociety.org today!
The SSA dues are reasonable and there are several chapters across the United States. I choose to mention this organization often here on the Primate Care site. This is because there is so many things they offer that are truly helpful to all monkey owners. They help with information on vet care across the country, help with finding lost monkeys, help with introducing us to other monkey owners that live in our area, help with alerting us to law changes in the different states. The SSA is a group of people who wish to be helpful.
The Monthly Simian Magazine
Please take time to visit the SSA site: www.simiansociety.org to learn more.
A Private Note About Adding Other Monkey Owners And Their Monkeys Into Your Heart
I did not know how close you could begin to feel to people through social media sites until 2008. As I was growing up in Eastern Tennessee I had never had a pen pal but in today’s world, we are able to know and become close with people all around the world. Through Facebook pictures and videos we begin to love and care for many other’s monkeys. The monkeys are what have brought us together as “monkey friends.”
When that special space opened up inside of me after receiving my first monkey named Penny, I started becoming a monkey fanatic. I wanted to see monkeys every chance I was able to. I only wanted to visit zoos and shop at book stores who might have a different type of book about monkeys. So, it did not surprise me when I started to fall in love with other’s monkeys while on Facebook.
Every day I try to make a visit to Facebook to see who has added something helpful or maybe see a new photo or video of their monkey. In doing this I have bonded with other friend’s monkeys. Because I am older and have had many monkeys throughout my years of life, I have experienced many things and now I also carry the knowledge of other things that have been experienced with their monkeys. I feel that knowing these things has helped me be a much better educator and monkey caregiver.
I know the heartache of loosing a beloved monkey. I have heard the sorrowful stories of people who have had to put their monkeys to sleep or have walked into their safe space to see that one of their monkey babies has had a life-taking accident. I now can say that almost every few months I read and see photos of my beloved cherished friends going through similar things with my dearly loved “Facebook Monkeys.”
We monkey people handle learning of a friend of ours who has lost their monkey differently, but that is the way we all are. We are different. At times it almost seems that I have just begun to feel better about the loss of one of my precious “Facebook Monkeys” and then there is yet another one that is in trouble with an illness or an accident or even maybe another friend who has had to say good-bye to their monkey too. During these precious monkey’s passing away, it is very hard to go back on Facebook. None of us who post photos or videos of our lives with our monkeys think about it becoming one of the last ones that we post of them, It hurts so much to loose a monkey that has touched your life in such a huge way, even if they are not yours.
By posting this personal note, I hope that if any of you are having some of the same feelings, you will know you are not feeling this way by yourself. Life on this planet has some tragic, heartbreaking things that happens to each one of us but on the other hand there are some wonderful things always happening too. I know without a doubt that I would not trade anything for the friendships and the opportunity to love yet another monkey, weather it is just for a week or maybe even for years and years to come. We need never regret being able to love. I may be very sensitive and overly compassionate at times, but I continue to go back for more Facebook “Monkey Friends” and more monkeys to love.
My heart goes out to everyone of you who may be reading this post who have lost a monkey. None of us start out thinking that we will only get a short time with our beloved monkeys. We feel as if it will not be the same as it is with our dogs and cats who live for a much shorter lifespan. We all go into this big decision with many preconceived thoughts and ideas about how it is going to go when we get a monkey. Every day with them is a day to be cherished and thankful for. Even though none of us monkey caregivers who have lost a monkey would ever say, “It was not worth having them in my life.” These words just would not compute in our hearts or minds due to that all important phrase that I say often, “Monkeys are truly gifts in our lives because they have a way of teaching us more about love and how to be better humans.”
Choose to Be The Very Best Monkey Caregiver You Can Be
Mary Lynn and Opie
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 post we will be talking about “Monkeys Who Are Housed Singly In Our Homes.”
Written by Mary Lynn Campbell author of “Living With Monkeys”