Humans have always had pets as companions and primates have always fascinated humans. Primates are attractive pets for the simple reason that they are so similar to people and this is exactly why it is difficult to keep monkeys as pets. Keeping primates as pets is a serious and long time commitment as the average life span of a primate is 35-40 years and their needs are very similar to those of humans.
There are many factors which make keeping monkeys as pets a challenge. To begin with they are expensive pets. Not only in terms of the initial expense that one will need to meet when buying a primate but also in terms of its upkeep.
To start with you will need to buy a large cage even if the monkey is a small species and arrange for heating, cooling and light.
The primates consume plenty of food everyday and they need commercial primate food, cereals, eggs, cooked or fresh food, nuts, grass hoppers and vegetables. A single day’s proper primate diet would mean an expense of $3 if not more.
Dogs or cats can be left alone at home when you are at work, but you can’t do this with a primate. Monkeys as pets can’t be left alone; it needs company through out the day. This could be a problem if you live alone or all the members in the family need to go out to the office or school.
It is also easier to take your other pets with you if you are going for a vacation and in the event of not being able to take them it is relatively easy to find someone who can take care of them for a few days. This is definitely not possible in the case of primates.
Most primates thrive better when they have a companion of their own species. Unlike other pets monkeys as pets need constant stimulation and challenges or else they get bored. You will need to provide toys, exercise equipment and other forms of mental stimulation to keep your pet happy. All this can be a problem if you don’t have enough time on your hands.
Besides these basic challenges you will also need to handle their mischievousness. As a rule they are naughty and destructive, more so as they mature. They are hard to toilet train and whatever success you may achieve with them, when they are babies, will be wiped out as they become adults. This could mean plenty of messiness and cleaning. Also they tend to bite, irrespective of their age.
Keeping monkeys as pets is not an easy hobby and needs a lot of dedication. Be very sure about yourself before you decide to go and buy a monkey as a pet.