Do Monkeys Throw Poop? Effective Strategies to Stop Your Monkey

Pet monkeys are the latest fad in animal ownership. People love to have these cute and intelligent animals at home, but owning a pet monkey is a very different experience from owning, say a dog or a cat.

One of the very important challenges you can face is your monkey throwing poop at you, which I’m sure is something that you’ve heard about before. You might be also wondering if it’s even true, and if it is true, then why do they do it.

So, Do Monkeys throw poop? Monkeys throw poop when they are frustrated, anxious, or stressed. In the wild, monkeys will throw rocks and other foreign objects to attack, but in captivity, their feces is the closest thing they know and have access to and the behavior is reinforced when we react strongly to it.

So while it is not something that is seen commonly in wild monkeys, it is probably something your own pet monkey will do at home. To understand a bit more about why this happens and what you can do to minimize your risk of being attacked with poop, keep reading.

Why Do Monkeys throw poop?

angry monkey to show why do monkeys throw poop

Most primates don’t throw feces in the wild, at least not most of them.

Scientists studied the which may be one of the world’s most peaceful primates.

The northern muriqui, known as one of the most peaceful primates around, call Brazil’s rainforest home, and they don’t have hierarchical structures in their communities. These animals don’t do a lot of fighting or competing, so they have never been observed to throw feces.

However, chimpanzees do have a hierarchical social structure. When they are angry or irritated, they may use branches or rocks to show dominance.

Chimpanzees may feel angry or irritated in homes and zoos, especially if people stare at them. They could become angry and attempt to communicate their feelings to their audience

According to Steinitz, Since they’re typically devoid of rocks, limbs, or other tiny objects like that, they choose the next best thing that’s accessible to them: poop.

Behavior Reinforcement: Why Monkeys Keep Throwing Poop

The monkey brain works exactly like the brain of any other animal; if a behavior is rewarded, it’s reinforced. If you give a dog a treat for sitting down quietly, they will learn to do that more, which is how you train any animal.

Unfortunately, this rewarding loop is not restricted to good behaviors.

So, if a monkey throws poop at you and gets a very strong reaction – whether positive or negative – it will be reinforced, and everytime they need to get your attention, make you stop playing with them, or force you to do something, they will just do what worked before; throw poop at you.

Although this behavior isn’t limited to chimps—howler monkeys in Belize do it as well—they are undoubtedly the most famous example. Chimpanzees observe that they have some control over how others act by flinging their waste in such a way. People will run if they toss an overhand turd.

Does poop throwing signal limited intelligence?

While it may appear that throwing feces indicates a lack of intellect, the reverse may be true. Researchers in a 2012 study* found that chimpanzees who had good aim when tossing items had greater motor cortex development, where physical actions are coordinated.

*: You can find all sources cited in the article at the end of the article.

They also had improved communication between the cortex and Broca’s region, which is part of the frontal cortex that aids in human language processing.

Their left-hemispheric halves, which control right-handed behavior, grew more. Within their social groups, the rocket-armed chimps were frequently better communicators.

Can you stop your monkey from throwing poop at you?

Yes, you can stop your monkey from throwing your poop at you using the same methods and techniques you would use to correct any bad behavior with a child or a dog.

Monkeys are intelligent animals, so you can train them, but they are also very stubborn animals – much more stubborn than dogs and definitely more stubborn than children. This means while you can train them, there will always be the chance that they will do it anyway.

How to stop your monkey from throwing poop at you?

You can’t stop this behavior in its entirety, but there are many things that you can do to reduce the frequency of these incidents.

While it’s not common for pet monkeys to throw poop at their owners, if yours does – try out some of these methods and see what works best:

  • Don’t make eye contact with the monkey.
  • Don’t show any attention to them, because they will keep throwing poop at you if it works for getting your attention.
  • Try using a water bottle to scare the monkey into stopping this behavior; squirt them with cold or warm water each time they throw their feces around. If there are other people in the room, they can help you by giving the monkey a squirt too.
  • Give them lots of physical and mental exercise daily to tire them out so that their antics will be more manageable and less frequent. This includes playing with toys, going for walks outside (on leash), or providing puzzle feeders which require problem-solving skills.
  • Give them lots of taming time, make sure to spend at least 30 minutes per day getting your monkey used to you and spending time with it. If they like riding on shoulders or walking around the house on a leash during these times, that will help with bonding as well.
  • Provide enrichment opportunities for the animal by making sure to rotate out toys/treats every few days.
  • When they do something good, like sitting or coming on command, give them a reward – this could be your attention and praise or some yummy treat that they really enjoy.
  • The important thing is to always make the positive reinforcement stronger than throwing feces at you because that is what the monkey will always find more rewarding.
  • Make sure to give them lots of mental stimulation by providing enrichment opportunities on a daily basis; you can do this through puzzle feeders, new toys and objects for them to explore, or anything else that they may enjoy doing.

Remember that you shouldn’t try and reason with a monkey – they will always do what works for them because it’s in their nature, so if throwing feces at you is working for them then that’s what they’re going to keep doing. Instead of reasoning, train your pet using positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training.

Do Monkeys play with their poop?

Monkeys that are in captivity and don’t have access to a lot of objects will occasionally play with their poop. Monkeys don’t have the same senses that make it disgusting to play with poop as humans do.

In fact, monkeys will even eat things out of their own poop.

Do Monkeys eat their poop?

Sometimes monkeys will eat things from their poop like seeds and worms, but they mostly don’t eat the poop itself. Some monkeys, like chimps, are actually quite hygienic with their foods and have been known to dust off or clean their food before eating it.

Conclusion: Another reason why Monkeys don’t make good pets

Throwing poop at their owners and their families is another reason that makes monkeys dangerous pets. Monkeys do not make good pets as they can be aggressive as well as dangerous to keep around the house.

Monkeys can also transmit diseases such as tuberculosis, herpes B virus, and the parasite that causes malaria.

Also, it is illegal to own a monkey in many countries around the world and in many states in the US because of its potential danger to human health so you should check with local authorities before obtaining one for your home.

You can learn about the legal requirements to own a pet monkey here.

At the end of the day, if you are thinking of getting a monkey, you need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself, but if you are dead set on it, it can be a very rewarding and unique experience.

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