Primate Activity Cube

While  making changes to the environment in which your primate(s) is spending most of their time at is very important to keep them intrigued, introducing new toys is just another way of preventing boredom.   Many of the items we introduce to our capuchin are sure to keep him busy for a while and allow him to really go to town.   Amongst the items we like to introduce weekly are carton boxes, magazines, or paper bags – all items that are available at no cost.

Every other week we like to buy a new item to add to the collection of primate toys.  One of his true favorites are plush animals which he really likes to carry around.   We often shop in the baby/toddler sections of the store or for a dog toy since those are typically more sturdy toys that can handle those sharp teeth.    If it is a battery operated toy, it is crucial that the battery area is secured with a screw.   It is especially important with baby toys to keep an eye on your primate since they’re really great at taking things apart.

During our last shopping trip at Target, we were once again trying to find another great enrichment toy for our monkey.     More on this with several pictures after the break!


I was reading a story the other day related to primate enrichment at the National Zoo in South Africa.  Their goal was to create an enrichment program for their baboons in an effort to increase activity and decrease aggression within the group.  The group consisted of 1 male and 3 females.  To deal with the aggression they gave contraceptives to the females which definitely helped with the aggression but they felt they could do more to enrich the lives of these baboons.   This article will show you some very inexpensive ways to enrich the lives of primates kept in captivity.


Primate Trapeze Swing Materials

I’m always looking for new ideas related to primate enrichment and was pretty excited when I bumped into a trapeze monkey swing that David created for Sammy, his capuchin.  All materials (including the trapeze styled pvc pipe) were purchase at home depot.  The total project cost was around $9 (cost of chain not included).  Chain itself was around $12 but since he only used about 10% of the total chain link, the actual cost of the chain for this project would be around $1-$2.   Once you have all the materials it’s a 10 minute project so let’s get started!


IOS apps for monkeys

When Benji was only a few months old, he clearly showed some interest in my iPod Touch. I always have my iPod Touch on me, and often read my email when I’m in the monkey room with him since it is kinda sturdy. He always loves to grab this thing out of my hands and if I don’t watch out, he’ll run towards the water bowl to give it a bath. Yes it is a miracle my iPod Touch is still alive!

Just recently I decided to find out which program seems to peek his interest the most.  Anything that flashes on this device clearly seems to interest him, but there are 2 programs he actually likes to play with.


One of the most favorite things Benji, our capuchin, loves to do is open up locks.  My wife has been telling me for a while now that I should create a board with locks on as an enrichment device.  It is after all another great way to keep your monkey busy when you’re not around.  I was then also rather excited when I noticed that somebody posted a picture of the above latches board.  This board contains different kind of latches that open up little doors to keep your primate entertained.


While doing research for my article on primate enrichment, I found out that some monkey owners hang horse hay bags up in the enclosure of their monkeys so today I went to our local farm store (Farmking) to pick one up.  I was pleasantly suprised to find out that they only cost about $11. They’re made with poly pvc coated nylon which makes these bags very sturdy and easy to wash.


For marmosets, bushbabies, and taramins, you can simply go to the pet store and purchase a ferret hammock. For larger primates you have the option to purchase custom build primate hammocks online or you can have the option to make your own hammock.  Here we’ll explain how you can make your own primate hammock which requires no sewing.


Arabic Gum for Gum Feeders

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 known that also other species like squirrels or tamarins like arabic gum.

You can buy arabic gum at sites that sell backery products.

Mix one part of powder with two parts of water. 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.

5 Recipes with Arabic Gum from a big breeder :

  • 30% gum + 70% water
  • 10% banana + 20% gum + 70% water
  • 30% gum + 70% fruit juice
  • take baby food “canned” (poultry – apple) + dry gumi ( =pasta)
  • cut fruit in cubes and put dry gum (like sugar) on it

By Dr. Hannah Buchanan-Smith

The author discusses the three main criteria which constitute a good captive environment.  They are: good physical health, breeding success, and an animal’s ability to acquire and retain behavioral skills needed to cope successfully with his or her natural environment. Through her field studies, the author has learned that a variety in diet, innovative foraging devices, indoor/outdoor enclosures, natural settings, and a comfortable social environment are vital for the well-being of captive primates. She illustrates how altering conditions can promote natural behaviors in captive marmosets and tamarins. (more…)