If after careful consideration you feel that the addition of a primate is right for your family, I've added a few more items you might think about before making your final decision.Assuming that you are sincere in your desire to obtain a companion that can live up to twenty years or longer, taking ten minutes to answer these questions shouldn't be that much of a burden.
"Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to."
Alfred A. Montapert
First of all, ask yourself this: "What is your primary motivation for wanting a primate as a companion"? They aren't children. They aren't dolls. They aren't toys to be objectified and dressed up and played with. They aren't a way to call attention to yourself. Is it possible for monkeys to receive excellent care and live long happy lives as part of a human family? Yes, I think so; but never forget they are wild animals..animals that have a degree of intellect and sensitivity that you have never before experienced. I make such a point of discouraging monkey ownership because experience has shown me that it is highly unlikely that most people will remain the highly motivated, dedicated caretakers required to provide for a monkeys lifetime needs. Unlike cats or dogs they do not retain tameness without a continued and significant investment of time. They are the ultimate in high care/high need pets and as difficult as I try to make it sound, you will wish it was only that easy! If you truly do love monkeys, you will be happy that this was a decision you weighed so carefully.
A few More Questions to Consider.....Honestly
Are you well suited for the job? Monkeys do best with caregivers that are patient, well educated and mature enough to solve problems without losing their cool. Every stage of a primate's development brings new challenges. People that have had positive results parenting children or had years of experience caring for other pets have a better chance of understanding the complex social and emotional needs of a primate.
Do you have other obligations? Primates do best when their needs are met in the foreground rather than the background of your daily life. They aren't like a cat that just needs to be fed and petted to be happy. Their needs have to come first day after day. I just cannot emphasize enough that if you have other high maintenance pets or young children in the house a primate is NOT a good choice.
Do you consider yourself to be a patient, even tempered and calm person? A monkey's intellect and emotional complexity brings an even greater likelihood of unpredictable and difficult behavior. Along with that is also a greater capacity to suffer when needs aren't met or stress levels are high.
Do you work outside the home and are you gone regularly during the day? If you need to leave a monkey alone, caged on a daily basis, I cannot emphasize enough what a bad decision this is. When a monkey is relegated to hours alone without constant companionship and love, by the time it reaches maturity it will be unmanageable, 100% guaranteed.
Can you afford a monkey? Adequate housing, specialized diets, vet care, diapering, toys, enrichment. Talk to experienced monkey owners. They can tell you about the expense involved. Adequate care isn't an option. The cost of owning a primate has to be part of your fixed budget.
Can you deal with monkey temperament? Accept that your monkey is going to challenge you. Your monkey is going to misbehave. Your monkey is going to bite. Do you have the proper alpha attitude and managing skills to handle the inevitable onset of mature aggression wisely? A monkey has the intellect and dexterity to outsmart you if you aren't on top of things...constantly. If they are angry, they can leap at you and attack the most vulnerable places; your eyes, your ears, your fingertips. They know where it hurts. Are you mature enough (or brave enough, for that matter) to handle those situations quickly and decisively? Can you maintain your alpha status without losing your temper and your nerve? Can you handle disobedience lovingly constructively and consistently? It takes a committed mindset and a lot of stamina to handle a mature monkey. I can tell you this: It isn't for wusses!
Can you do the work? Monkey mess...day in and day out with no vacation! For the many wonderful instincts our monkey friends have, housekeeping isn't on the list. In nature everything falls down and away from the monkey...so food and poo and shredded whatnot is simply tossed and gone. In the house, it is tossed and there for you to pick up. If not diapered, they also aren't offended by a little bit of urine and poo smeared about their cage. Some larger breeds tend to become possessive of their soiled items like bedding and toys making them resistant to cleanup. To them "stinky" simply means personalized, Under these circumstances cleaning and sanitizing can become quite a challenge. This all adds up to a lot of frustration and a whole lot of work,
The Most Common Reasons People Give for Wanting a Pet Monkey
"They are so interesting"
"I've wanted one since I was a kid"
"When I saw how adorable he was, I had to have one"
"I've never seen anything so cute"
"I want a pet that's different from what other people have"
"They're like a real baby"
"I've always loved monkeys and wanted one"
"I don't know anyone else that has one"
"They are so smart that they fascinate me"
The Reasons I've Heard for People Giving up their Pet Monkey
"They are much messier than I expected"
"We've decided to have a baby, so we have to get rid of him"
"He causes so much damage that I can't afford to keep him"
"He doesn't like to keep his diaper on and I can't have him ruining the house with urine... etc.
"I've decided to go back to work"
"He is so noisy that he disrupts the entire family"
"He smells more than I thought he would"
"I don't have enough room in the house anymore"
"He doesn't get along with my son (or daughter or husband.... etc.)"
"He bites and misbehaves and I can't handle him"
"He doesn't like the dog (or cat or bird... etc)"
"He masturbates and it's embarrassing"
"He smears food all over the place"
"He started urine marking and it's disgusting"
"He got loose and I'm worried about the possible legal implications if he does it again"
"I'm tired of cleaning up the mess day in and day out"
He bit my cousin (boyfriend, sister... etc)
The list goes on and on and you get the picture.
Important facts to consider Before adopting A Marmoset or Tamarin
1. Monkeys bite! Of course little monkey bites are less serious then their bigger, stronger cousins, but being nailed by a marmoset throwing a temper tantrum can be very serious and hurts plenty. Monkeys bite when they are playing. They bite when they are excited. They bite when they are frustrated. Even if they feel bonded to you, even if they have been lovingly cared for and disciplined, they will bite. Their moods can be unpredictable. If you have young children, understand that sudden noises and typical chaos associated with playing is stressful and can frighten a primate into biting. They tend to be fearful of large birds, but may consider small ones as dinner. Most monkeys will get along well with cats and dogs, but individual circumstances can vary greatly. Carefully consider the personalities of your other pets before obtaining a primate.
2. Monkeys can NOT be toilet trained. I know you hear the occasional exception (and for the record, I have never actually witnessed an exception nor do I personally know of a single one.) but trust me, it is not in their nature and when they have to go---they go. On the up side, it is extremely rare for them to soil their beds.
3. Monkey's Smell. Marmosets have a sweet, musky odor similar to that of a ferret. It can be controlled to a certain extent; but keeping them, their cages and bedding clean is hard work. Their sleeping, eating and play areas must be kept clean, not only to make living with them tolerable for you and your guests, but for the sake of their health and well-being.
4. Monkeys are WILD animals. With love and patience and consistent, appropriate discipline you can train them to respond and become loving and affectionate companions. Training is on-going and every day can bring new challenges. You have to accept that you will never tame them into docile compliance.
5. Monkeys are NOT pets. I would compare sharing your life with a marmoset or tamarin more akin to adopting a precocious, spoiled two-year old (that can out-run you and jump six feet in the air!) than obtaining a pet. Unless you are willing to make a sincere, long-term commitment stick to more conventional animals like dogs, cats and goldfish.
6. If you frequently find yourself becoming impatient or expect instant gratification, a primate is not for you. Training can take a long time and never ends. They are remarkably intelligent creatures with a strong independent streak. Pleasing you or doing what you want ranks near the bottom of their to-do list. Trust that they derive far more pleasure from getting their own way than from making you happy.
7. Primates need a stimulating and diverse environment. They need toys, room to explore and constant contact with their caregivers. They are highly social and need continual interaction with family members and other household pets. The primate success stories I have witnessed are situations where they were very rarely caged and allowed to share family space on their own terms. They want to sleep where you sleep, go where you go and eat what you eat.
8. If you travel, work long hours outside the home, or if you must take vacations, a primate is definately NOT for you. They simply cannot thrive if left alone for extended periods of time. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible to find pet sitters that can handle them. They also have long memories and carry grudges. Trust that they aren't likely welcome you back with open arms if you make a habit of leaving them.
9. Monkeys are expensive. The initial expense can be high, yes, but that is just the beginning. You do need cages for the occasional time-out and safe place for short periods. Adequate cages aren't cheap. Qualified vets are not only hard to find, but often basic exams require anesthesia, which can be very costly. They need species specific diets, fresh fruits and vegetables year around, diapering and enrichment toys and the list goes on.
10. Your lifestyle will change....dramatically. Say goodbye to peace and quiet. If you don't like your hair to get mussed up, your clothes splattered with food stains, your magazines and books torn to shreds, dishes broken, vases knocked over or decorative silk pillows used as a chew toys, a monkey is not for you. They are curious, full of energy and have the insatiable urge to taste, touch or dismantle everything in their grasp. I have personally replaced the keyboard on my laptop twice. The keys were all removed (in mere minutes) and gleefully hidden in a hammock to be played with later. Breakables and collectibles have to be locked securely in china hutches. Forget fresh flowers on the table. Flowers will the either mangled beyond recognition or eaten (and some can be lethal to a monkey). If you picture yourself relaxing peacefully reading or watching television uninterrupted while your adorable little primate sits on your lap, snap out of it! I have to admit that touching Kodak moment does happen on occasion. I think mine was on a Thursday, last year.
11. Monkeys take up lots of your time. Say goodbye to free time to read or pursue hobbies. If I'm not fixing monkey snacks, I'm washing diapers, or cleaning up monkey mess. My monkey loves to find a piece of paper. (generally something with an important message on it), climb to the top of the curtain rods and sit up there tearing it to shreds. I can spend hours trying to locate a misplaced item (pens, keys, notes, bills, debit card...you name it) that I didn't literally lock up and out of reach. They love to get pens, markers, crayons and lipstick and then run around "doodling" on whatever was in their path. Every squeeze tube (toothpaste, hand lotion... etc) eventually gets least one bite hole in it ; hence whatever comes out the top comes out the side. All the hairspray cans have the nozzle missing and not usable (I may find one eventually) and emery boards, chap-stick and shredded tissues make for fabulous monkey toys... and all make one heck of a mess! Every day brings something new to clean up, and it never stops.
If you have general questions or need details about any of our products, or if you just need to "monkey" talk, please contact me at (253) 862-0432 or email me at LindaLawrence@aol.com If I'm unable to answer your questions, I'll do my best to direct you to someone who can.