At Exotic Pets Resources, we agree with the overwhelming majority of animal welfare and animal rights groups in believing that no primate of any species should ever be kept as a pet. This includes monkeys, tarsiers, marmosets, slow lorises, lemurs, and more besides. It is our opinion that the only acceptable reason for keeping a primate in captivity is for conservation or similarly ‘pure’ motives, and then only in a zoo or any other environment that can realistically provide everything that they need. For this reason, we have chosen not to include any information on caring for these amazing animals on this website.
Primates are highly intelligent, social creatures that need mental stimulation and large amounts of space in which to play and interact. They should never be kept alone under normal circumstances, and a human owner alone is not a suitable replacement for other members of their own species. There are very few homes that would be able to give a group of primates the space that they need, let alone all the other things they require if they are to live happy and healthy lives. These requirements would be very hard to meet by anyone who is not highly experienced, and any single individual is likely to struggle, no matter how good their intentions are.
Furthermore, keeping primates as pets can harm not only their health, but yours as well. In all likelihood, they will at some point bite you, which can transmit a wide range of dangerous bacteria and other pathogens that could cause serious illness. Humans can also accidentally pass on their own infections and diseases to pet primates, sometimes with disastrous consequences – human herpes, for example, may well kill a primate.
In many states keeping a pet primate is illegal, and in many more a license is required. Too often these rules and regulations are ignored, and in too many cases the unlucky victim of their owner’s selfishness will not survive the ordeal, or will at least suffer unnecessarily. We hope that this page is sufficient to put you off keeping a primate as a pet, even if there is no law forbidding this wherever you live.
In our opinion, keeping a primate as a pet is cruel and tantamount to abuse – there are many wonderful, fascinating, exciting and engaging animals out there that can and do live very happy and healthy lives as pets in captivity, but primates are not among them.