Keeping monkey as a pet

My friend is interested in getting a pet baby macaque monkey after watching videos on YouTube where they are fed and bathed, finding them adorable. Despite my advice that monkeys make bad pets and are not suited for household living, she remains adamant.

She keeps mentioning how happy, healthy, and calm the monkeys in the videos appear. It’s frustrating because I don’t want to be too harsh. I’ve tried to explain that the monkeys are likely caged most of the time and only brought out for filming, but she doesn’t seem to believe me.

She’s been inquiring with various sellers on Facebook but hasn’t made a purchase yet. Additionally, stricter regulations on owning primates are being discussed in the UK, which she would not meet. However, she seems so fixated on the idea that she disregards this information as well.

Is there anything I can show her or say to change her mind, or should I let her make her own decisions?


Here are some reasons why a pet money is not a good idea:

  • Potential Harm: Monkeys can cause harm, even if they seem sweet at first.
  • High Maintenance: They need a lot of care and attention to be happy and healthy.
  • Not Suitable for Human Homes: Monkeys and apes like chimpanzees, orangutans, and gibbons don’t thrive well in human households.

You can share this with her as well:

If you or someone you know is considering getting a primate (such as an ape, monkey, lemur, or marmoset) as a pet, it’s crucial to understand why these animals make terrible pets. Here are several reasons to reconsider contributing to the primate pet trade:

  1. Traumatic Separation: Baby primates are often forcibly taken from their mothers at just a few days old to be sold as pets. This experience is deeply traumatic for both the baby and the mother, who may endure repeated breeding cycles only to face the same fate each time.
  2. High Costs and Specific Needs: Primates have expensive dietary, enrichment, and housing requirements that demand significant time and financial resources. Many captive primates develop costly health conditions like diabetes, which can be challenging to treat.
  3. Behavioral Changes: While baby primates may seem adorable, their demeanor can drastically change once they reach puberty around age 3. They become unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous, making them difficult to handle and care for, even for experienced owners.
  4. Home Damage and Hygiene Issues: Primates often engage in destructive behaviors like throwing feces and urine, leading to damage and unpleasant odors in the home. Diapers are not a practical solution and can cause discomfort and health issues for the primate.
  5. Social Dynamics: Primates have complex social structures and may bond with only one person while viewing others as threats. This can isolate owners from their friends and family and lead to aggressive behavior toward others.
  6. Health Risks: Primates can carry parasites and diseases that pose health risks to humans, even if they appear healthy. Bites and scratches from primates can transmit these illnesses to owners.
  7. Social Needs: Primates require the company of their own kind for proper psychological and emotional development. Human care cannot replace the nurturing provided by a primate mother, leading to psychological harm for the animal.
  8. Legal Restrictions: Primate ownership is illegal in many states, and attempting to acquire one may result in legal consequences and fines.
  9. Supporting the Pet Trade: Purchasing a primate fuels the cruel exotic pet trade, incentivizing breeders to continue breeding and poachers to capture wild primates for profit.
  10. Limited Sanctuary Placement: Even if owners plan to surrender their primate to a sanctuary, space and resources are limited, and many animals end up living in inadequate conditions due to lack of placement options.

Considering these factors, it’s clear that owning a primate as a pet is not only impractical but also harmful to the animal’s well-being. It’s crucial to avoid contributing to the suffering caused by the primate pet trade.

You could try sharing credible sources outlining the challenges of keeping monkeys as pets, emphasizing their complex social and behavioral needs. Ultimately, she has to understand the long-term commitment and ethical considerations involved. Encourage her to research reputable sanctuaries to see the reality of primate care. If she remains adamant despite evidence, respect her autonomy but express your concerns clearly.