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Monkey Business: Is A Monkey The Right Pet For You?

Monkey business …

As a young teenager living on the west coast of Florida, I was like a fish out of the water. I moved there from New York with my parents. There were a lot of things that took some getting used to and I was not a fan of the heat or the bugs. Whoever invented air conditioning has my eternal gratitude! Then there were things that helped me tolerate the negatives. Casual lifestyle and attire, beaches and fishing to name a few. One of the things I really loved about Florida was that it lacked many of the rules and restrictions that the East Coasters were and are still cursed today. Even in the early 1970s, you couldn’t walk into a New York or Long Island pet store and buy a monkey. However, you could do it in Florida.

Before the government decided to make all the decisions for us, there was a time when you could decide many things for yourself. This included the type of animal you wanted to buy or adopt. Unfortunately, some people have spoiled this for honest, sincere and thoughtful pet owners … People who left their dogs perpetually tied to a tree, kept an alligator in the pool, had a tiger in their apartment or used their house as an animal rescue center keeping hundreds of malnourished cats in a totally unacceptable environment … Now I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any laws prohibiting keeping certain types of wild or exotic animals as pets. What I want to point out is if the government prohibits people from owning animals because they are in danger or, in the opinion of an “expert”, they could be psychologically damaged by living with people. .. Then they bark the wrong tree.

At the age of fourteen, I entered a pet store in Florida and saw a squirrel monkey languish in a small cage. It was not a case of neglect or abuse. This type of thing is often done by pet stores as a hook to make you buy one of their most expensive or hard to sell selections. That’s what my father said and he was right. Another week has passed and the monkey was still there when I returned. At $ 25, it didn’t cost a fortune, and that price meant the store wanted it to disappear. It was a time when few tourists were in town and it made selling more difficult. Most of the locals were older and didn’t want to worry about keeping a primate as a pet. Besides, the monkey was not good at promoting himself. He had barely been weaned when someone took it from his mother, gave him a few shots, and sold it to the pet store for resale. As a result, the animal was shy, slippery, and scared.

I went to the local library and researched the squirrel monkeys before finally buying it two weeks after my first visit to the pet store. My parents were good with my purchase because I had always been a responsible pet owner having had a dog, birds and guinea pigs. The dog died before moving. The other pets were adopted by neighbors who already knew and loved them because it was simply not possible to take them away. I named my monkey Sam and brought him home in a large cage that we kept in a Florida room with jealousy windows on the side of our house. It faced unused land that was overgrown with vegetation and looked like a jungle. This room could be shut off from the air conditioning if necessary, but was heated during the short period of time when our region experienced cold weather.

Squirrel monkeys are easy to feed, not very expensive to keep and not difficult to train if you train them to do things they love to do. However, they require a lot of company and mental stimulation. Fortunately, Sam loved me. He tried to bite me first, so I pinched him several times until he learned not to be as aggressive. It was only possible because I had made him so young. I also put him in his cage when he misbehaved. The idea was to use conditioning and repetitive discipline as tools for the animal to behave. I was the leader of this primate group, not him. I was the provider of food, water and shelter. Once he understood all of this, he learned faster. At first, I used a leash. After a few months, it was no longer necessary. He was allowed to move freely under our supervision and even played outside while we had barbecues or went to our swimming pool. He used the vacant lot at the nearby store as an exercise yard to climb trees and hunt birds and squirrels. He also used it as a pot, so I guess you could say that he was trained for most of the time.

Dogs and monkeys are sworn enemies. You can’t really have both without stressing one or both animals. In reality, the monkeys are jealous. I strongly suggest that if you plan to own such a monkey, you should avoid having other pets. Most monkeys that are not well trained or treated well will likely become naughty or cranky as they transition into adulthood. Monkeys constantly caged will pee you or throw you droppings. They can also attack you or destroy things they see are important to you if you have the opportunity.

Typically, monkeys are intelligent. They learn quickly and are great escape artists. That is why training is important. I always left Sam’s cage door open after he was trained. I closed the doors to this room. He learned to close or open the door of his cage as it suited him. After a while, he learned to open and close all the doors that lead to the backyard so he can go out to play or do his business. But he would never go unless one of us gave him our permission. The doors to his room were locked when we went out without him.

Owning a squirrel monkey is easy and difficult … satisfying and frustrating … fun and boring … but is it ethical? Is it harmful to the animal? You will have to decide for yourself, unless your city or state has already done it for you. The truth is, people will own monkeys anyway. In China, it is illegal, but thousands of Chinese have “Pocket Monkees” which are generally purchased in the form of pygmy Mamosets, Capuchins or Resus Monkeys. They don’t treat them well. They tie their arms to learn to practice walking for two instead of four legs, which is painful and unnatural for them. They shave their fur and dress them in clothes. You get the picture. These animals are status symbols in China where most authorities look the other way and ignore the wealthy and important people who own them. However, if they or the responsible animal owners did not buy the monkeys, they would be sold to research labs and sentenced to a life spent being subjected to physically or emotionally damaging experiences while living in a tiny, bare cage. love or companionship.

Each year, tens of thousands of monkeys are shipped to research centers around the world, and many orders from these same torture centers remain unfulfilled. Given this fact, it is difficult to worry about the morality of having a monkey as a pet compared to the same animal ending up as a laboratory rat. Most of the people I know who have owned a monkey have not abused, shaved, beaten or kept them in the wrong environment. Again, if you have the legal right to own one, you need to decide whether it is something you should do or not. Before you do anything, do a lot of research and buy from a reputable breeder if you decide that a monkey is the right pet for you. Over price of $ 25. You will spend $ 3000 – $ 6000 depending on the type of monkey you choose. Most people prefer the Capuchins for their ability to learn tricks and behaviors. If tiny is your plan, pygmy marmosets are the size of a finger for babies and the size of a hand for adults. Squirrels and spider monkeys require more time and effort than most people would like to invest in a pet.

by Bill Knell

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