Skip to main content

Get reimbursed on your pet's routine care with Mint Wellness by Pet Assure! Enroll Today >

Sit. Stay. Read.

Can Monkeys Make Good Pets?

Learn everything you need to know before you take the plunge.

July 17, 2020 4 min read
Can Monkeys Make Good Pets?

Monkeys are cute. There's no doubt about it! Maybe you've seen one in a zoo or on TV or in a movie, and you've thought about getting a pet monkey to call your own. However, before you make the commitment, there are some things you need to know. Read on for everything you should learn before making some monkey business your own business.

It is legal to own a pet monkey?

The legality of owning a monkey varies, depending on where you live. Some states say absolutely not, whereas other states say it's OK in certain circumstances. If it's legal where you live, you're still required to obtain a permit and show proof of an enclosure big enough that the monkey can live and play.

How much is it to buy and own a pet monkey?

Cost depends on the type of monkey. Some smaller monkeys (such as capuchin) cost around $7,000. A large ape (such as chimpanzees) cost around $70,000. In addition to this, it's important to consider the lifetime cost of food, diapers and veterinary visits.

What is the life expectancy of a pet monkey?

Monkeys usually live anywhere from 20 to 40 years.

Are pet monkeys social creatures?

Yes! Monkeys require a lot of social interaction throughout their lives. They love their fellow monkeys and thrive being around them. Studies show that isolating monkeys from their social group of monkeys creates many social and behavioral problems that can't be reversed.

In addition, monkeys generally want attention on them the vast majority of the time. They don't like being left alone. If they don't get adequate attention, they tend to scream loudly and bite whoever is in reach (and most monkeys have 32 teeth).

What do pet monkeys eat?

Most monkeys eat things found in nature, such as seeds, nuts and fruits. Some monkeys also enjoy eating small creatures, including spiders, insects and lizards.

Monkeys' specialized diets can be very time-consuming and expensive. If a monkey is placed in captivity and not fed right, the result is usually that the monkey gets diabetes. Once the monkey has diabetes, this requires near-constant monitoring by a veterinarian.

Do pet monkeys have sweet dispositions?

Just like people, each monkey has his or her own unique personality. Some are more gentle and some are more aggressive. However, even the sweetest baby monkeys grow up to become wild animals. Just because you raise a monkey from the time he or she was a baby doesn't mean it will lose its wild nature. They are all wild animals simply because they are monkeys. Even the sweetest monkeys are unpredictable and can become aggressive at any point, even with their owner.

Can pet monkeys be kept in a house?

No. People who live in houses simply can't give the basic habitat requirements that monkeys need. They typically need much more space than a traditional house can offer. Plus, monkeys are curious creatures who get into everything. This means that cords, leashes, cleaning products, windows and more could be a death sentence for a monkey.

In addition, monkeys can be very vocal, with many of them making such loud sounds that they can be heard miles away. Neighbors generally won't appreciate this.

Can pet monkeys be potty trained?

No. Most monkeys cannot be effectively toilet trained. Sometimes, younger monkeys can be partially potty trained, but they lose that ability as they mature. In addition, as they're attempting to potty train, they tend to throw their poop and play with their pee. Because of this, pet monkeys have to wear diapers throughout their lives.

What kind of enclosure should pet monkeys live in?

Monkeys need a lot of room to move around and play. They like to roam outdoors as much as possible. If they're not in the wild, then they need a secure enclosure that is huge and expensive. Certain states require certain types of enclosures in order to obtain a permit to have a pet monkey. Most of these enclosures have to be a minimum of 30 square feet or more, but the truth is that monkeys never truly acclimate well to living their life in an enclosure of any kind.

What do pet monkeys need to stay entertained?

Monkeys must have a variety of new toys and exercise equipment to keep them entertained and challenged. Otherwise, they get bored, and that's when they start acting out (throwing things and biting people).

Can humans and pet monkeys spread diseases between them?

Yes. Monkeys can easily have diseases that are very dangerous to humans -- and vice versa. This is why most zoo professionals wear special garments (to protect against diseases) when dealing with monkeys. However, pet owners probably don't want to wear the special garments 24/7.

What do experts say about owning a pet monkey?

There are a few documented cases where a monkey is well-trained and lives out its entire life with humans without causing harm. However, in the vast majority of cases, the risk to both the humans and the monkey is too high.

Because monkeys need full commitment throughout their entire life, they're simply not meant to be pets. They never grow up and mature like human children do. In essence, they are essentially permanent toddlers who require constant attention and care throughout their entire lives.

The truth is that monkeys -- even the ones who are always pets -- will never be truly domesticated. Monkeys usually live their best lives in rainforests, savannahs, mountainous terrains and treetops. So, instead of getting a pet monkey, pet experts recommend that you support primate sanctuaries where monkeys live free, wild, natural lives.

Ready to start saving money on pet wellness care?

Then take a look at Mint Wellness, the pet wellness plan that provides fast reimbursement on routine pet care. Save on vaccinations, wellness exams, preventatives, dental, and more!

Learn More