Monkeys for Sale

By encino - Posted on 10 March 2009

Thinking about a pet monkey? Sounds fun. Unfortunately, it is not a very good idea to buy a monkey. It is possible. You can find bulletin boards and classified advertisements offering monkeys for sale and you can buy monkeys in the United States and in other countries. Monkeys are cute (so are tigers and pandas) but it isn’t very practical for individuals to own them. Here are a few reasons why not to buy a monkey.


baby squirrel monkeys for sale

capuchin monkeys for sale


First, some alternative suggestions:

  • Visit and support your local zoo
  • Try a different exotic pet
  • Have a look at the monkeys page here or other nature programs, DVDs or books


List of Problems Involved When Buying a Monkey

1. It's Expensive. Monkeys, properly cared for, are very expensive. A chimpanzee? Forget it! They cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase, plus a cage, supplies and equipment. You would have to provide space, cooling, heating, light and a specialized and expensive diet. If someone is selling a monkey cheap you can bet that this is an older monkey and certain to have behavioral problems. Monkeys need expert medical care. With all the money you would spend on a monkey you could finance a trip to Borneo to see the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre or go to visit new world monkeys in their natural habitat in Central or South America or even see baboons or apes in Africa instead.

Sample Case: Costs of Owning a Capuchin

The capuchin monkey is one of the more commonly owned and trainable species. These monkeys can live to be 50 years old and commonly live 40 or more in captivity.

Base cost for babies: $7,000-9,000 - Can only be legally purchased in the US from USDA licensed breeders.

Cage: The costs here can vary more than anything else. A 12 ft square cube would be the smallest comfortable housing for a capuchin. If you have a room in your house already with heating and cooling you still need to setup a comfortable and secure setting that, even if you do-it-yourself, can easily cost $1000. It would be easy to spend $5000 or more on something built from scratch.

Food: bags of monkey food about $10 a month, fruits and vegetables about $60 a month.

Veterinarian costs: about $200-250 to start and a visit at least once a year and follow up on vaccination shots.

Don’t forget toys, play materials and diapers - $300 a year.

Time: You have to assign the value of your time yourself. Cleaning and preparing food time, plus an incredible amount of social time that the monkeys require.

So, let’s say you bought a monkey for $7000, built a cage for $2500, and paid $250 for the vet. That puts you just under $10000 initially. Then the yearly costs would be food $840, vet $50, toys/supplies $300 = $1190. That is a fairly conservative estimate with everything going smoothly.

2. It's not good for the monkey. Monkeys are susceptible to human illnesses and can so easily hurt themselves in or around a human environment. The circumstances will most likely be stressful for the monkey, they require constant intellectual stimulation. The odds are stacked against them. As intelligent beings, an un-natural environment may cause them to have psychological problems. Taking care of a stressed-out, scared or sick monkey is not fun.

Some very serious problems for chimp owners - Dangerous Chimpanzees

3. It's Time Consuming. Like traveling? You can forget about that if you own a monkey and most other hobbies you might have. Monkeys need attention all the time, they don’t read books or watch TV.

4. There are legal problems. Buying a monkey has become increasingly difficult because of international, national and local laws regulating and preventing the sale or import of monkeys. It’s complicated and these laws will only become more strict. It is not legal to import pet monkeys into the United States according to the CDC because the potential infectious diseases such as Ebola-Reston, B Virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1), monkeypox, yellow fever, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, tuberculosis, and other diseases not yet known or identified may be carried by the primates. Dealing with illegal monkeys can be a very serious offense in the United States - The Lacey Act

5. What if you acquired a monkey and can no longer can care for it? Some monkeys can live 30 years or more.

6. Monkeys get angry. Monkeys have teeth. All monkeys bite. Even with reduced teeth it will still hurt. If you take your monkey out in public, if it bites someone, that will probably result in the loss of your monkey.

7. Where will you buy the monkey? Do you think you can trust a breeder? Mmm beware of monkey scams and fraud. If you buy a monkey, even from a local breeder, you are possibly increasing the demand, and are supporting the trafficking of monkeys (and wildlife in general). The treatment of trafficked wildlife is horrible - Brazil's smuggled wildlife.


In the past, the following types of monkeys were commonly sold: capuchin monkeys, guenons, macaques, marmosets, squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys and tamarin monkeys. These monkeys are the most common types of monkeys you will find at the zoo. You can see them there, along with other captivating animals, and then go home and relax, worry-free.

In short, it is still possible to own monkeys but by almost all accounts the time, energy and money expended could be put to better use for you and the simian species.


state by state restrictions, requirements for buying primates

The above is a very helpful map for those living in the US showing state by state laws, restrictions, requirements for buying primates. The date of this info-graphic is unknown, around 2008. Undoubtedly, there are currently more restrictive laws.


pygmy marmosets for sale

spider monkeys for sale



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