Monkeys generally are a very difficult species of animals to keep as pets. Even tho as babies, they might appear so sweet, irresistible, and helpless as babies, they often grow to become very stubborn and difficult animals as adults and make it difficult for the owners to keep up. The challenges of raising and training a monkey as a pet are usually enormous because caring for a pet monkey is not the same as caring for a dog or cat or even a rabbit.
Even though monkeys might share some genes with humans, they require a full commitment for the 20 to 40 years they might spend alive if they are well taken care of, meaning they need to be cared for their whole lives. These animals do not mature and grow up as human babies do which makes them children for life. Another challenge is that monkeys who are pets tend to get used to their owners so much and could get jealous and possessive when new additions are made to the house such as a newborn child or a new spouse. It is also not very possible to leave your pet monkeys at home to go for vacations, neither can they be kept with neighbors or family members, and in some other countries keeping monkeys as pets is prohibited.
Monkeys like humans are social animals and therefore need large amounts of quality and frequent social interaction. A pet monkey that is not showered with enough time and attention and love could lead to such an animal developing some unusual behavioral issues like screaming, biting, and destroying things all in the bid to get your attention. They could also become prone to sudden displays of aggression, regardless of size, especially at the age of sexual maturity.
At this stage, a monkey may destroy everything in the house and bounce off the walls in fits of agitation. They might also develop psychological problems which are even worse because it could be quite difficult to find a cure for them. Primates have special and specific needs that need to be taken care of and great thought needs to be given to considering taking a monkey as a pet.
Common Monkey Diseases and Other Health Issues
Apart from the psychological and sociological implications of keeping monkeys as pets, those who choose to keep pet monkeys need to always be on the alert about the health of their monkeys being very observant as to when the monkey is in good or poor health. This process is ever ongoing game that needs a lot of patience, time, skill as well as experience to handle.
When taking care of monkeys, there are some very important things the owners should make sure are always in place. These things include:
- regular animal checks
- veterinary care
- enclosure furnishings
- enclosure design
- group composition
- changes to group composition
- Physical discomfort and pain in primates
Also, when properly observed for good health, pet owners that are, monkeys, in this case, should be able to identify some behavioral signs that indicate poor health conditions such as:
- A lack of appetite,
- eating less or sometimes over-eating
- not drinking or drinking to excess
- hiding away, withdrawing, and becoming unresponsive
- Physical signs of ill-health include:
- poor body condition
- poor coat condition
- crouching/huddled posture
- diarrhea and vomiting
- discharge from orifices
- scratching too much and labored breathing
It has been advised that all monkey owners especially as well as other people who keep pets in their home must have a veterinarian who is a specialist in the field of that particular animal or species being kept. Once these pets are obtained, there must be a regular check-up health plan schedule made and immediately any form of ill health or discomfort in the animal is noticed, their veterinarian should be contacted immediately. Some illnesses that might affect humans when monkeys are not properly observed to take note of include:
#1. Herpes Simplex Virus
The herpes simplex virus, has two strains, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and Herpes Simplex virus 2. These viruses cause common illnesses in humans such as cold sores and are often propagated by monkeys like marmosets and tamarins which get infected and then spread to their human owners. In fact, those who are susceptible to cold sores or have very high tendencies of contracting cold sores should never keep such monkeys as pets. These monkeys can also transmit this virus to other monkeys they come in contact with. Care really needs to be taken because some species of monkeys are actually carriers of these diseases but do not come down with it, rather they are asymptomatic carriers while to other primates, it is very deadly.
#2. Scars From Pets
Most times, animals or pets might become too excited while playing with their owners and cause them to harm such as scratches, cuts, or wounds and bruises from stronger animals such as monkeys. Pet owners need to be very careful when dealing or playing with their pets as well as when their pets are angry to prevent getting harmed by these animals. Because when they get cut or bitten by these monkeys, it is possible they get infected with some form of disease or infection the animal carried especially if the animal has not been properly cared for. Also, cuts and scars on pets should be treated properly so that the blood does not cause harm to the owners if they come in contact with it.
#3. Repeated Bouts of Illness
Repeated bouts of illness in pet owners might be very likely to occur when the pet becomes an asymptomatic carrier of certain infections. These repeated bouts of illness, however, might be an indication that an underlying medical issue is occurring in the individual which leads to weakened or deceased immunocompetence.