What Happens to Pet Monkeys When They Grow Up?

The life of a pet monkey can be very different than that of an animal in the wild.

A lot of people get pet monkeys because they are small and cute, but like with all things, before you know it, they will grow up and become adults, and suddenly these same people don’t think they are cute anymore and that the animals are more hassle than they ever thought they would be.

So, what happens to pet monkeys when they grow up?

Many pet monkeys end up living their lives with their owners like normal pets, but many also end up being surrendered to zoos, rescue groups, animal shelters, and research facilities. Unfortunately, monkeys that have been around humans their whole life find it difficult to go live in the wild as they can’t adapt like wild monkeys.

This is a sad truth, but the story doesn’t end there. Pet monkeys probably have the strangest and most tragic lives of all animals, and they probably don’t unfold the way you expect it to.

To understand how pet monkeys’ lives really go and what actually happens to them when they grow up, keep reading.

What happens to grown-up pet monkeys?

monkey in cage to show what happens to pet monkeys when they grow up

A lot of pet monkeys end up living with their owners like normal pets. Monkeys are even capable of loving their owners like other pets.

What happens to them when they grow up is that they continue behaving like the wild animals that they are, and sometimes this means biting their owner’s family members or putting holes in walls by taking apart furniture trying to find things to chew on.

Monkeys also start hooting and screeching in the middle of the night, triggering their owner’s kids’ nightmares. What happens to them when they grow up is that people find this too much for them which leads to monkeys being surrendered or abandoned at animal shelters all over the country.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that around 30% of pet monkeys are given up by owners who can no longer handle them. What happens to pet monkeys when they grow up is that many of these animals are euthanized because the shelters do not have space for all these unwanted pets, and in some cases, zoos will take in surrendered monkeys but it’s quite rare.

What happens to pet monkeys when they grow up? What actually happens is that pet monkeys end up living a tragic and short life. What happens to them when they grow up is that their lives are cut short because of all the stress and physical abuse from being kept as pets, or even more tragically, some will get sent off to research facilities so scientists can study their behavior.

What you can understand from learning what happens to pet monkeys when they grow up is that you should never ever keep any wild animal as a pet, and if someone tells you they can find or breed monkeys in the US legally, don’t believe them. What happens to these animals when they grow up is that their lives are filled with abuse which ends way too soon for such intelligent creatures.

Is it cruel to have a pet monkey?

It is considered cruel to have a pet monkey in most cases. Having a pet monkey deprives the animal of living a normal life with other primates in their natural habitats where they can find mates, spend time together, and live their natural cycle.

Monkeys are not domesticated animals which means the only way they can survive in human society is if they’re raised from birth by people, but even then this doesn’t mean we should keep them as pets.

The phenomenon of keeping monkeys as surrogate children

There are a lot of women in the US and abroad who acquire monkeys as child substitutes. They dress them up in children’s clothing and feed them bottles well past the age of normal weaning, claiming that it helps them cope with their emotions.

Some primates are fine with wearing clothes; others resort to almost every trick in the book to get rid of them. There are several issues linked with clothing on primates, ranging from producing excessively hot body temperatures to suggesting that monkeys are similar to human children to prompting people who come into contact with humans and animals not wear clothes.

Bottle-feeding primates into adulthood may also contribute to the development of tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.

Unfortunately, this ends badly most of the time.

When tragedy strikes, those who consider their primates to be their children may become emotionally devastated, even to the extent of being classed as clinically depressed.

Even those who understand that monkeys are individuals who require special treatment experience strong emotions when tough circumstances must be addressed. The individual who is attacked by their own monkey may experience feelings of surprise, denial, and anger.

It’s perplexing that people don’t realize that primate bites and scratches are typical behavior. Biting is even documented in documentaries about primates. This topic is addressed in books about primates as well.

Do Monkeys get aggressive when they get older?

Yes, monkeys do get aggressive when they reach sexual maturity. Even the most domesticated and well-trained monkeys may become aggressive if they feel threatened or challenged.

When agitated, stressed, or seeking to demonstrate dominance in the house or for mating purposes, capuchin monkeys may attack.

Even the most well-trained capuchins can assault and do so swiftly. It’s important to understand monkey aggression signals and how to educate your monkey not to attack.

Helpful Resources

Inside the Exotic Pet Trade

Florida ‘Monkey Whisperer’ Charged in Illegal Wildlife Trade

‘No more monkey selfies’: scientists told images could drive illegal pet trade

The lucrative trade in African primates threatens their survival

Monkey business: the illegal trade in Barbary macaques

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