tips on how to care for a monkey

how to care for a pet monkey tips- Caring for a baby monkey is not rocket science but it does require A LOT of time, patience, and commitment. I will try as best I can to describe my experience raising a baby monkey. If anyone has additional information they think I should add, please feel free to send me an email.

As I have mentioned, I got Joey when he was 1 month old. He probably weighed .5-.75lbs. He had tiny little teeth and he was not that active. He liked to stay on his stuffed bear, or on me. His locomotory was not quite fully developed yet. Much like a human infant, he would, for example, try to grab something in front of him and not reach far enough to grab it. He probably learned to grab objects precisely at about 2 months of age.


I began diapering Joey from the first day I got him. Since he was so small, I had to improvise. I bought those small baby towels that are about 5 inches x 5 inches, and cut a panty liner in half. I folded the little towel towards the middle on the right and left side, and then put the liner in the middle. I would then slide it under, unfold the 2 upper flaps under him & the lower corners under him. I would then connect all 4 flaps on his back and would use a bobby pin to hold it all together. (see pictures below for better idea. I know it sounds a little confusing.) I always kept Joey on his bear when diapering him. I did not grab his so that I would not stress him out.

Step 1: Grab small baby towel.

Step 2: Fold one side towards middle, then other side.


Step 3: Place half of panty liner, sticky side down, in middle of folded towel.

Step 4: Pull together 2 tabs under monkey around back, and then 2 tabs over, placing tail in the middle of the 2 tabs that fold over.

Step 5: Pin all tabs together

Joey with towel/panty-liner diaper.

I began using preemie diapers when he was about a month and a half. Those are much easier. I just cut a hole in the front of the diaper, slip his tail through, then I hold his legs and slip the diaper under, unstick the tab and wrap them around his back.(Remember on monkeys diapers go on backwards so they can’t take them off.)


pet monkey Biscuits are essential to having a healthy primate. The sooner one begins feeding the monkey biscuits the better your monkey will eat them as an adult. I began putting chopped biscuits in Joey’s milk at about 1 1/2 months. I gradually made the consistency of the baby formula, rice cereal, and biscuits thicker. I added more and more biscuits, and less rice cereal/formula each week or so. I also began giving him other solid foods. By 5 months Joey was eating solely solid foods, save a morning bottle because he loved it.

The formula used for baby monkeys is human baby formula. I used the one that is for babies with allergies, soy formula with iron, because it was what the breeder recommended I use. There are controversies with using the ones with soy. They say the soy creates some kind of chemical imbalance in their brain which may lead to aggression as adults. Others say it does nothing. You could just use one that is soy free, and not have to worry. Some say a good alternative to formula is goat’s milk. I believe its less strong than cow milk or something. Experts recommend weaning monkeys off of their bottles by 9-12 months for the medium sized monkeys. The smaller species such as Squirrels, Marmosets and Tamarins, at 5-6 months. Prolonging the formula bottle (high simple sugar) longer than the 9-12 months increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes much later in life – the association is not often made then. What some owners do is give the bottle with ground monkey chow and water. Most monkeys LOVE the bottle, like babies, and wont come off until you make them. You have to be strong for their own good. It is easier, faster, and sweeter than anything else and they will prefer it forever. There are lots of ways to wean, so do what you feel is best for your monkey. You can start leaving off one bottle now, then another, etc. You can also give less formula in each bottle and dilute it down. Just start now and gradually wean both volume and frequency.

BOTTLE FEEDING INFANTS- When bottle feeding a baby monkey NEVER put them on their back as you would a human baby. This can lead to choking and death. Always feed them on their stomach, tilted upwards slightly.

Primate Diet from The Merck Veterinary Manual for your reference.
Diet Form to be filled out when leaving someone responsible for your animals in your absence.

I also microwave various vegetables to soften them up to. I feed my monkeys mostly carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and celery. As for the fruits I give them grapes, raisins, and pieces of apples, pears, mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi. I limit these quantities. To much fruits can give them the runs. On occasion a boiled egg between my two, pasta (1-2 noodles each, no sauce or spices, just boiled in water), or whole wheat cereal.

As a treat I give them mealworms, and crickets. A website reader also suggested wax worms, although I have not tried those yet. Below is suggested diet for Spider Monkeys. The protein requirements of capuchin (Cebus) monkeys is higher than that of spider (Ateles) monkeys and the protein requirements of squirrel monkeys somewhere in between. Therefore, the amount of egg or equivalent amount of cooked protein should be doubled in the morning and evening feedings and the total food intake decreased according to the lower body weights of capuchin & Squirrel monkeys. (Diet below is for spiders, so the protein for capuchin is higher, and that of squirrel in the middle between capuchin and Spiders).

In the wild a spider monkey’s diet include primarily fruits supplemented by leaves – they don’t get much sugar or fats. vegetables (cabbage, kale, spinach, cooked carrot and sweet potato, etc.), and leaves (Eugenia, hibiscus, mulberry, maple, etc. can be fed in the U.S.) The amounts of food to feed depend upon body weight and metabolic rate. There is no fixed amount that can be given. It varies between individual animals as well as their environment. Two feedings a day should be offered on a weight reduction program. Vegetables: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, corn, carrot, etc. These herbivores feed primarily on young leaf shoots, flowers, and fruits. A diet that can be basically described as being high in bulk, but low in energy. Large amounts of leafy vegetables and browse should be offered through the day, and particularly during the critical phase of acclimation. Foods with high caloric values may, at least initially, be difficult for them to utilize, and cause digestive problems and diarrhea. Recommended browse species include rose, blackberry, mulberry, sweet potato vines, bamboo, hibiscus blossoms. In cold climates, browse may be cut and frozen for use during the winter. Additional green vegetables are green beans, Chinese cabbage, kale, and spinach. Other food items include banana, plantain, hard-boiled eggs (in very moderate amounts), bread, sweet potato, cooked rice, carrot, and just a few mealworm larva or crickets

Spider Monkey Morning Meal:
3 slices of banana ½ inch thick
3 asparagus spears
2 TBS diced orange
One half cup of cut green beans
1/4 hard-boiled egg with shell (cut up, maximum)
1 TBS corn (thawed frozen or fresh)
5 peanuts
1 TBS sunflower seeds
1 heaping TBS avocado
A few sprigs of parsley 1 heaping TBS black-eyed peas (shelled)
1/2 slice turnip
1/2 slice whole wheat bread cubed

Spider Monkey Afternoon Meal:
One quarter slice of whole wheat bread
One quarter apple
3 slices of banana – one half inch thick
3 asparagus spears
5 grapes halfed
2 TBS diced orange
1/2 small sweet potato (chopped)
1 1/2 TBS lettuce mix* (Romaine, cabbage, & celery)
8 peanuts
1 TBS sunflower seeds
6″ piece of carrot – chopped
4 snow peas

Occasional crickets or mealworms as a treat. Some spider monkeys like meal worms and crickets, some don’t. Offer teaspoon-sized portions. Minimize intake of human sweets, dessert foods, milk products, carbohydrates and fats. It is OK to give the monkey one human children’s vitamin tablet 2 – 3 times a week instead of the liquid pediatric multivitamin supplement. Avoid foods which have been enriched with iron such as fortified cereals. Other treats occasionally: soaked raisins, other types of fruit – portion of treat/day should be less than 1 teaspoon in volume. Lettuce mix ingredients are placed in a chopper and mixed. Use long and thin pieces.

Always remember portion size in proportion to your monkey’s size. A treat should be about the size of their hand. Monkeys will eat as long as you give them foods they like…even if not hungry. Think of yourself and what is considered a decent size snack for you. A snickers bar is ok for you, but NOT ok for a monkey as they are MUCH smaller than us. Especially the smaller species.

Another big problem with capuchins and larger monkeys is keeping them with a fresh supply of water. I hear many complaints of monkeys who empty out the conventional water bottles in minutes, or take apart water fountains put inside of the cage for fun. An excellent method I found to be used with great success is the following. They brought a waterline to the outdoor cage, and clamped the plastic pvc pipe to the outside of the cage. They attached a nozzle (can be purchased at most hardware stores) which only releases water when the primate moves the nozzle.


Both capuchin monkeys for sale sleep in my room at night. I have separate sleeping cages for them (see pictures below). I have a large sheet I throw over the cage so that they can sleep even though the lights are on. I also have the two cages on top of a large rug to keep the area clean. I am afraid of leaving them outside at night, and I think they would be nervous as well. Both Joey and Sofie sleep the entire night. I try to have them in bed by 9:00-9:30 pm, and I wake them up