Monkeys You Can Have As a Pet

It’s difficult to ignore the appeal of having a pet monkey. It always appears to be so awesome in television shows and movies! But the reality of having a pet ape is far different from how you probably envisage it.

Numerous kinds of these critters can turn hostile or violent even after years of peaceful coexistence, and they all need extraordinary amounts of care and space.

Monkeys and other primates are still kept as pets by a lot of people. In fact, it’s believed that there are already 15,000 primates kept as pets in the US alone.

With more than 330 distinct species of monkey to choose from, some are going to make better pets than others. These eight breeds are the ones to think about if you won’t be persuaded out of having a pet ape.

Are Monkeys Good Pets?

People should not keep monkeys as pets.

We need to think about what makes an animal a good pet before we can respond to this query in more detail. As essential characteristics of their pets, humans typically value companionship, obedience, and minimal upkeep. That explains why humans adore creatures like fish, turtles, cats, and dogs.

Although they can potentially spend a large chunk of a person’s life with them, monkeys are lousy house pets. They are bright, curious creatures that require a lot of care and assistance.

They are untamed and challenging to tame, much as many other creatures. A pet monkey might attack its owner, and certain species, like chimpanzees, are noticeably more hazardous than others.

Owners of monkeys must provide them plenty of room and a special food that differs depending on the species. Monkeys are not housebroken, thus it is not sufficient for them to relieve themselves in your backyard like a dog. As a result, they frequently require diapers.

We can draw a connection to explain what sort of creature you are dealing with by using the fact that a monkey needs diapers: monkeys are long-lived toddlers. They will contaminate their owner’s goods, get into places they shouldn’t, and cause a mess with their body fluids. It’s just in their nature; it doesn’t make them horrible creatures.

Owning a monkey is a lot of labor, so you shouldn’t get one if you can’t commit to doing it for years on end.

How Much Do Monkeys Cost?

The prohibitive expense of acquiring and caring for a primate is another barrier to keeping a monkey as a pet. Some monkeys may be acquired for less than $10,000, such as capuchins, who are among the less expensive species.

Although by no means inexpensive, some dogs with show-quality coats might cost the same. But once you start looking at larger primates, the cost increases dramatically. For instance, a chimpanzee would cost you roughly $70,000, which is a big expense for a pet.

Remember to include in the expense of maintenance and housing. Your monkey will want a sizable habitat with lofty ceilings and climbing surfaces. It will be expensive to put that together. Once it’s finished, you’ll also be responsible for paying for all the food your pet will require, which will be about equivalent to the daily quantity you eat.

The cost of veterinary care, which may be high for an exotic pet, is another expense you’ll have to make. Don’t plan on having a full-time salary if you want to have a pet monkey since you’ll need to take a lot of time out of work due to the enormous amount of care that monkeys demand.

Can I Legally Own a Monkey as a Pet?

Thirty-one states in the United States permit the ownership of monkeys, although other nations, such the United Kingdom, have absolute bans on the practice.

However, even those states that do not openly prohibit the ownership of pet monkeys may have a limited prohibition. Some regulate the kinds of pet monkeys a person is allowed to have, while others demand that a prospective owner volunteer with monkeys and pass a test before they are allowed to keep one.

The gist of the matter is that while owning a monkey as a pet is lawful in many jurisdictions, not all monkeys are. For instance, Indonesia has prohibited the international trade of orangutans in order to safeguard the species.

Other monkey species, such as chimpanzees, who can readily overwhelm a human owner, are acknowledged as being too unsafe to keep in some locales.

Before acquiring a monkey to live as your pet, you must be informed of all applicable national and international legislation.

9 Monkey Breeds That People Keep as Pets

Let’s discuss other primates that might make good pets now that you have a basic understanding of what goes into caring for a pet monkey.

Although none of the primates make ideal pets, others are just plain nasty. But in terms of domestication, the next eight primates are the most successful. Choose one of these eight breeds if you’re determined to keep a monkey as a pet.


Chimpanzees have occasionally been kept as pets, however doing so is not advised due to their violent nature. Monkeys are not chimpanzees. They are technically great apes that are indigenous to the African plains and woodlands.

Although chimpanzees and humans do share the majority of their DNA, chimpanzees are bigger, stronger, and more physically capable than humans. Humans have been murdered and mauled by chimpanzees. This animal needs diapers if it is outside of its container and has a lengthy lifespan (approximately 60 years in captivity).


The capuchin monkey is a widely sought-after pet because it combines high intellect with a small stature and a more adaptable diet than other monkeys. They are also more strong than their 9 pound weight and 18 inch height would imply due to their high weight to strength ratio.

The fact that capuchins are used as support animals for persons who have sustained disabling injuries demonstrates why they are the finest monkeys for people to have as pets.

In order to help persons with spinal injuries live more normally and independently, capuchins have been trained as service animals. They are powerful enough to move human limbs and intelligent enough to assist in opening drawers and retrieving stuff.

However, this does not imply that they are an easy pet to own. They are equally as demanding of care as other monkeys, and capuchins are pricey. Additionally, they require a care continuation plan because they can live between 30 and 50 years in captivity.

Squirrel Monkey

Squirrel monkeys are on the lesser half of the range; without the tail, they typically only grow to a length of 10 to 14 inches. Despite weighing only 1-3 pounds on average, this adorable kind of monkey is a very active, acrobatic animal that requires a lot of room.

To keep a squirrel monkey happy, you’ll need a sizable cage with plenty of trees because they enjoy swinging and hanging by their tails. Even if a squirrel monkey consumes less food than a chimpanzee, you’re still likely to have food problems because they are known to be fussy eaters.


The tarsier is an extremely little monkey that may grow to be only 7 inches tall and weigh as little as 6 ounces. Large, inquisitive eyes and the impression that they are clutching trees rather than hanging from them make them iconic monkeys.

Although some individuals have kept this threatened monkey as pets, it is now against the law to exchange them. This prohibition has several but straightforward justifications.

For starters, these monkeys need a unique diet that most people are unable to offer. They are also nocturnal, which means they are inactive during the day, which discourages people from keeping them as pets because they aren’t “interesting.”

Tarsiers are incredibly adorable creatures, but keeping one as a pet is a horrible idea because of how reliant they become on us. Tarsiers require a significant time commitment because they can live for up to 20 years.

Spider Monkey

One of the few species of monkey that the majority of people can name is the spider monkey. Sadly, although being maintained as pets, they are quite dirty!

Although most monkeys can be maintained in diapers, spider monkeys frequently take off their diapers and Spider monkeys require significantly more care and engagement than most other monkey breeds since they are very sociable animals. Spider monkeys are inclined to grow hostile if not given enough care.

Spider monkeys may grow to be nearly 2 feet long and about 30 pounds in weight, despite the sounding diminutive in their name. If maintained as pets, they require a sizable enclosure to live in.

At least their diets aren’t difficult to furnish. Fruits with flesh are preferred. But their behavior worries me. When young, a spider monkey may come across as friendly, but as it gets older, it may become more aggressive. Despite their diminutive size, they have strong teeth and claws that can cause harm to humans.

Additionally very gregarious animals, they may live up to 40 years in captivity. They remain one of the most common monkey breeds kept as pets, nevertheless.


Tamarins may grow to be up to 12 inches long and 32 ounces in weight, making them significantly bigger than tarsiers. They are a highly popular option for pets since they are tidy creatures who will only use one section of their enclosure to relieve themselves.

They make better pets than many of the animals on this list since they are very clever creatures with less special nutritional requirements. Although they lack the strength to injure a person, they may become loud and disruptive when bored.

It’s vital to bear in mind that since these animals are sociable beings, keeping one as a pet would be denying them of their natural desire to socialize. Tamarins have a lifespan of up to 15 years, making them just as durable as a long-lived canine breed.


These 10-pound monkeys originate from sub-Saharan African woodlands and have a 25-year lifespan in captivity. Guenons require a lot of upkeep as well. The most common guenon species kept as pets are the green monkey, vervet, and grivet.

There are approximately two dozen different species of guenon. They do well in big groups. You would need to keep a troop of them if you wanted to keep this animal as a pet.

Due to its tameability, the guenon monkey is a popular sight in zoos all over the world. They are substantial creatures that, if provoked, may hurt a human. They can grow to weigh 15 pounds and stand 22 inches tall.

They’re likely to create a lot of noise because they are vocal creatures that constantly call to others throughout the day. Additionally, they have a lifespan of up to 16 years and are more aggressive after reaching sexual maturity.


Marmosets may be the noisiest of all the pet monkeys, though they are seldom silent. A marmoset will scream and howl when it feels ignored to make sure you don’t miss its irritation. These primates have a lifetime that is less than average, with a maximum of around 20 years.

Marmosets are among the most manageable-sized monkeys on our list, with a variety of species and an average length of just 8 inches.

The typical marmoset monkey only measures 7 inches long and weighs around 9 ounces, making it a tiny species of monkey. They are really adorable animals, but when their demands are not addressed, they become very vocal.

Even if you can eventually figure out what their cries imply, you might not be able to appease them since they can be calling to other monkeys that aren’t around to respond.

A marmoset will require a sturdy, sizable enclosure with plenty of water and climbing opportunities. When given the right care, they can survive up to 20 years or longer, although this is more difficult to do than it may seem.


The macaque is another fascinating monkey that is frequently kept as a pet. They are interesting organisms with features that resemble people in certain ways. The monkey is a particularly well-liked pet because of its empathetic attitude and expressiveness.

Macaques may grow to be over 3 feet tall and weigh over 30 pounds. It goes without saying that these monkeys need a lot of space as pets. They lack social contacts since they frequently live in big groups with other members of their species, which might be an issue for a pet owner.

The fact that macaques can transmit some pretty serious diseases to humans is another issue for those who keep them as pets. One contagious illness that people can contract from them is herpes B, but there are many more that are still being researched.

Should I Keep any Monkey Breeds as a Pet?

In the great majority of situations, monkeys are bad pets. Monkeys may attack humans viciously or spread illnesses, as we’ve demonstrated here. They are wild creatures with a variety of difficult-to-satisfy requirements.

Even if we overlook the obvious danger of feces-throwing, we still need to take into account how intelligent these animals are. Is it proper to hold something so intelligent as a captive? Humans are currently debating the moral conundrum more and more.


Even while it can seem like a new idea to maintain a pet monkey, it’s generally not a good one. With lifespans that frequently approach 30 or 40 years, you’ll need to have plenty of money and time to dedicate to your pet monkey. This means that you’ll be making this commitment throughout the majority of your life.

Make sure you know what you’re getting into before buying a monkey. Although it’s a challenging road to take, the appropriate kind of individual can find it gratifying. The eight breeds we’ve covered on this list are the ones you should think about if you decide that owning a monkey is the best choice for you.