The Legal Age to Get a Pet Monkey and Other Legal Requirements

Did you know that there are certain requirements to own a pet monkey in the United States? Like how old do you have to be, how much does it cost, and how big of an area is required for their habitat. To answer these questions and more, continue reading this blog post!

Let’s start with the main question;

how old do you have to be to own a pet monkey? Legally, you will need to be at least 16 to 18 years old for private pet ownership, but this can also depend on your state’s law and the pet shop rules. For example, while legally you can buy an animal at 16, places like Petco and Petsmart will not sell you live animals unless you’re at least 18 years old.

Hopefully, this answers your main question, but hold on! Don’t go and get your wallet just yet, there are other requirements you need to know before you rush to get your pet monkey if you want to avoid a hefty fine or even criminal charges.

Let’s explore all of them together.

The legal requirements for pet ownership in the US

monkey with man to answer the legal age to get a pet monkey

Our legal system currently considers pets to be property, comparable to automobiles and televisions.

While many “pet parents” would disagree and consider their dogs as genuine members of the family, that view has no validity in court.

That becomes evident in contested asset situations when couples fight over their pet’s custody. In divorce courts, save for those where cruelty can be proven, pets are generally assigned to one of the parties.

For a pet to be considered legally yours, the following proofs are required:

  • Registration and license: The first registration, which is usually required for most household pets, is the most probable document to be accepted by the court. That document will include the name of the individual who registered your pet with local authorities and paid any applicable fees. Remember that signing your name on a registration form has importance. The registered owner of a pet is responsible for future licensing and registration. If you don’t pay, it’s like not having a driver license.
  • Microchip records: Microchipping is more than simply one of the wisest things a pet parent can do; it’s also a record of ownership. The court will look at both parties as owners of the pet, which will demonstrate an interest in the animal’s wellbeing in the eyes of the court, just like veterinary records.
  • Veterinary records: The court may also consider veterinary medical records. You will be asked to provide the name of the owner when your pet is admitted for the first time. Both parties can be listed as owners if you are part of a couple. If a pet custody dispute ensues, having both names on file will demonstrate to the court that each party had an interest in

Now, let’s check out how you can legally have a pet monkey;

How to have a pet monkey?

To have a pet monkey you need:

  • To be of legal age
  • To be allowed to own a pet monkey by the state’s law
  • Be financially capable of purchasing the monkey and caring for it
  • Have the space, time, and energy to handle a pet monkey.

It’s also preferred that you also be an experienced pet owner because pet monkeys can be tricky or even dangerous for first-time pet owners.

We’ve already discussed the legal age part, let’s discuss the state part.

Where is it legal to have a pet monkey?

Currently, there are no laws in place in:

  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • West Virginia
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Washington State
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama

States where you need permits to own monkeys

There are some states where the laws on owning monkeys are not clear, and therefore, it is legal for you to have monkeys. Some other states have some restrictions which you must adhere to if you want to keep a monkey as a pet.

These laws are always changing, and we are not your legal advisor, so please check your state’s website for their laws or, even better, ask a lawyer.

States where you can’t own monkeys at all

Private monkey ownership is illegal in 37 states, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Some of these states include:

  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Utah
  • New Mexico
  • Minnesota
  • Pennsylvania,
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Colorado
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Kentucky
  • Rhode Island

I actually have a complete guide on owning monkeys in California and why it’s banned there here that has all the information on why some states ban owning monkeys, so I recommend checking it out.

Owning pet monkeys Outside the US

The laws of different countries can be very different on whether you can own a pet monkey or not.

For example, in the UK, it is legal to have a pet monkey, however, you are not allowed to sell them without the appropriate license.

While in Australia, you’re not allowed to own a pet monkey, sell them, or import them, and the punishments for doing so can be quite severe.

Now that we’ve covered how to have a pet monkey let’s discuss how much it costs.

The costs of owning a Pet Monkey

You may buy a capuchin for as little as $1,500, but Chimpanzees will set you back more than $60,000. A monkey costs an average of $15,000 to $20,000 as an adult. The cost of a newborn ranges from approximately $30,000 to $50,000 depending on the age, sex, and breed.

Monkeys are not cheap to care for, too. You can check out my complete breakdown of pet monkey care costs.


While you need to be at least 18 to get a pet monkey, you can get other pets while you’re only 16 years old, but make sure that you are financially capable of purchasing the monkey and caring for it.

You should also have the time, space, and energy to handle a pet monkey. It’s generally preferred that you also be an experienced pet owner because pet monkeys can be tricky or even dangerous for first-time pet owners.

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