My Friend The Monkey
If your daughter, or son, came to you and said they wanted a monkey as a pet; would you know what to say?
Baby monkeys, with their large-eyed, little-featured appearance, remind us so much of a human infant, they can’t help but tug at our heartstrings. As a result, we long to cuddle and take care of them as our beloved pets. However, these babies grow up into adult monkeys that are difficult and destructive and as such are not very good pets. Their intelligence makes us feel a huge affiliation for them, but ultimately it is this very thing that makes them too much of a challenge.
Owning a monkey is a long-term commitment, because monkeys can live for 20-40 years easily. Much like having a child with a developmental disability, they can’t go without your constant supervision and attention just because life gets hectic. Any change can be hard for them, so major life events that change your living situation, like having children or getting married, can be disruptive for them. They may not warm up to your children or spouse because they become so bonded to their original owners.
Feeding a monkey can be expensive as they have special diets, and a rather significant amount of time must be allotted to the preparation of this food. A major amount of time is spent just caring for and cleaning up after them, and they need a lot of attention and social interaction from their owners. If they do not receive adequate attention, they will develop severe behavioral problems.
Your sweet little baby monkey will one day grow up to be a wild adult monkey and that won’t change just because they are living with humans. Depriving a monkey of interaction with other monkeys actually can cause a lot of aggression and neurotic behaviors. They may bite. If they get bored, they may attack. You may get lucky and have one that is docile, but as they are wild animals they can turn on anyone at anytime, even their beloved owners.
If you don’t have a large enclosure for them to spend time outdoors, then you will not be very successful at keeping a monkey contented. They need a lot of outdoor time in a secure area, with lots of ever-changing toys and equipment such as tire swings. Keep them stimulated or suffer the consequences.
Monkeys are a mess to clean up after. They can’t be potty-trained or if they do get successfully trained, they will not stay that way. You can diaper them, but sometimes monkeys will still reach in and grab feces and throw them around. As well, taking off their own diapers and urinating on your possessions, is not uncommon.
Keeping a monkey may also not be very healthy for you or for the monkey. There are a wide range of diseases that can be passed back and forth between humans and primates and some of these diseases that wouldn’t kill a person, could be detrimental to a monkey’s health. Finding a vet that will agree to treat a primate is also a challenge.
And lastly, if after all of these cons, you still want to go forward with getting a monkey for a pet, make sure you check on the legalities in your area surrounding owning primates as pets. It is illegal in some states.
So if your daughter, or son, came to you and said they wanted a pet monkey; would you know what to say now? I would get them to read this article and then present them with a stuffed monkey; here is your new friend.