Should Capuchin Monkeys Be Kept as Pets?

Capuchin Monkeys as Pets
The decision of getting Capuchin monkeys as pets, needs to be backed by extensive research and good understanding of the animal and its needs. Monkeys are wild animals and not easy to take care of. Their dynamics is completely different from cats, dogs, and other domestic pets.
PetPonder Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Monkeys, despite being wild animals have always fascinated mankind. Capuchins are lean, agile New World monkeys that weigh 3 to 9 pounds. Their fur is a shade of light tan or cream around the face, neck and shoulders, while the rest of the body fur is dark brown in color. They are the most intelligent of all New World Monkeys, with the largest brain. For the past few years, capuchin monkeys are being favored as exotic pets.
Hollywood has only added to that fascination, by starring Crystal, the capuchin monkey in several films like Night at the Museum, George of the Jungle, Hangover part 2, etc. With the popularity of reel monkeys rising, more and more people are being tempted to keep capuchins as pets. After all, monkeys are exotic pets, and this definitely helps gain the whole social circle's attention. However, monkeys are very different from our domestic pets.
Capuchin monkeys are not cage animals...
Often people interested in getting capuchin monkeys are under the misconception that they can cage their pets, when they need a break. Capuchins who are caged and unattended, often end up into aggressive and emotionally disturbed animals. Capuchins are not to be caged, especially when you want some time off! Joey, a capuchin monkey owned by a British woman was left on his own in a cage for months together, with only a man coming to feed him everyday. When checked medically he was found to have osteoporosis and bent spine. Since he had never been out of the house, he lacked vitamin D and his bones were not formed completely.
Capuchin monkeys are lifelong two-year olds...
Sure baby capuchins are cute and adorable, however, they don't remain the same forever. They grow into perpetual two-year olds. They not only have the energy levels of two-year olds, but also have the largest brains of all New World monkeys and require ample mental stimulation. They make a lot of mess and a lot of noise, which will get to your nerves one day. Since they have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years in captivity, they are a lifelong responsibility. Can you manage to take care of him or her for the rest of your life? Who will take care of your pet, while you are work? What about holidays and other necessary trips? What about friends, family and other aspects of your life? Can you devote your entire life to a capuchin monkey?
Capuchins need to be trained well...
Baby capuchins are endearing, however, as they reach sexual maturity, they can have behavioral issues. This is why training forms a very important aspect in a pet capuchin's life. These monkeys are highly intelligent and need to be trained or else can be aggressive and difficult. Bad training results in an aggressive capuchin monkey. They may even use their sharp teeth to bite. If the monkey happens to bite someone, you can be sued and the monkey can be taken away from you. Thus, training the monkey well and teaching him or her to behave is crucial.
Capuchins are not the problem...We are!
Capuchins are great monkeys, however, we are the problem. Most of us don't realize the responsibility involved in bringing a capuchin home. They are a 24*7 job. They require all your love and attention and will get depressed if neglected. Joey's owner thought he was cute when she first brought him home, however, found it overwhelming to continue taking care of him. Her lack of judgment has ruined poor Joey's life. Are you prepared to be on your toes for the next 30 to 50 years? Think again! Life is too precious to fool around with!
Capuchin is an expensive commitment...
Besides emotional needs, capuchins also have various physical needs, which cannot be compromised. They require a specialized diet; monkey food, besides the regular fruits and vegetables. Primate health care is also expensive and capuchins require annual checkups. Can you incur all the costs for the next 30 to 50 years? What if you lose your job? Do you have enough savings to still take good care of the capuchin?
Capuchins help save lives...
With the largest brain of all New World monkeys, capuchins are the most intelligent monkeys. The organization, Helping Hands has been training capuchins to provide assistance to quadriplegics for over 30 years. However, they are only able to provide 6 to 8 capuchins each year, due to the high costs involved in training. They do not charge the patients for the monkeys and solely depend on donations. If you are so keen on being associated with capuchins, donate to such a cause. That patient needs the capuchin more than you do! That capuchin will end up saving a life, and you will be helping save that life!
Get closer to capuchins first...
If you still believe you are cut out to take care of a primate, first get to know them and their mannerisms better. Volunteer at a nearby wildlife sanctuary and help out with their care. This way you will understand the responsibilities it entails. Even after that if you think you can take care of one, get one home, however, you are responsible for his or her life and make sure you take it seriously. Don't be one of those owners who brought one home, however, failed to keep their commitment and bailed out halfway through! At that time you cannot say we didn't warn you!
Several states have banned keeping exotic pets, however, till the rest follow suit, it is important for us to understand that we are responsible for the decisions we make. Before getting a capuchin home, think about all the pros and cons. Taking care of monkeys in captivity is an expensive, time-consuming and a very difficult affair. Despite the complexities involved, if you still want to keep a capuchin as your pet, remember, you have to provide the best environment for your capuchin monkey!