Do Primates Make Good Pets?

Looking into the eyes of a baby primate, it is impossible to not be attracted to the innocence and trust that you see there. Your instinctive reaction is to take it home and look after it, but before you leap into owning a primate as a pet, there are some issues that you should keep in mind. Here is a checklist of things to consider before taking that cute baby home.


In many places, it is illegal to keep a primate as a pet. Others may require you to comply with stringent conditions and have a permit to keep a primate. These conditions may include inspections at your home to ensure that there is enough space for cages.

Also, check on your insurance policies. If the monkey damages your property or bites someone, will your insurance company cover the costs?


A primate is a long-term commitment, as they can live anywhere from 20 to 40 years. Primates will not grow up and mature as humans do, so you will be looking after the equivalent of a human toddler for all of those 20 to 40 years. Also, primates do not take change well, so the introduction of a new spouse or a baby will be met with resistance.

Taking a break or holiday will not be easy, as you will have to find someone willing to care of the primate while you are away. There are no cat or dog hotels that will take your primate.

Trying to rehome your primate will be almost impossible and the only option you may have is looking for a care group that will take it in.


A fundamental fact to remember is that a cute primate baby will grow up and its wild nature will reassert itself. In nature, primates live in large family groups, so they need a considerable amount of social interaction. If you do not give a primate that attention, it will develop behavioral problems such as screaming or biting that may be impossible to remedy.

Primates do tend to bite, and their bites can be extremely painful. All primates must be considered unpredictable, and even the gentlest will bite on occasion. Puberty brings out the worst in primates and aggression after puberty is common. This aggression may make it uncomfortable for family and friends to visit.


It is impossible to toilet-train primates, though it is possible to keep a diaper on them as babies to avoid some of the mess. Primates also have some unsavory habits with their urine and feces — throwing it around, painting with it or rubbing it into their hands and feet.

All primates are mischievous, and damage to your property is almost a given.

Primates make good pets

All in all, primates do not make good pets. They may be adorable as babies, but the wild, unpredictable nature of the adult primate can be taxing.

They can cause a great deal of damage to property and harm to their human family. Instead, leave primates in the wild or with professional care groups that can incorporate any orphan into a troop so it associates with its species and not human beings.