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Primates as Pets

      Monkeys, lemurs, Lorises, and even sometimes small Apes are brought
      into homes as pets for a variety of reasons. Because of our close
      relationship to them we seem drawn to their Human-like
      characteristics. Their bright busy eyes, their neverending curiosity,
      and their intelligence are all irresistible when we watch them at
      play. Who can avoid speculating what it would be like to have one in
      our home when we watch them in a zoo or Nature documentary? They look
      like bright little children who need us to make their life complete!
      Who has ever had an "Organ grinder" Monkey reach out to us who could
      resist the little beggar? Wearing a little brightly colored suit and
      a hat, who wouldn't want one of their own?
      Because of the difficulties encountered in keeping monkeys as pets,
      and because of the disease problems encountered with them, most pet
      shops are unwilling to go to the enormous effort of handling and risks
      of placing them in families. Many of the dealers of Monkeys are out-
      of-state "wholesalers", and, due to distance etc., provide little, if
      any assistance to the buyer. It is often very difficult to obtain
      reliable backgrounds on the animals. Since many of the dealers are
      across the state line, it is never convenient to stop by and chat with
      them like you can when you buy a bird or bunny from your neighborhood
      pet shop.
      Caging is a challenge, and they seem incredibly capable of finding a
      way out of any cage. Hundreds of dollars are needed for first rate
      primate cages. Diapering is often resorted to in order to protect the
      sanitation of the home and family.
      As a minimum, monkeys require a detailed physical each year. At that
      time they will have their annual TB test to protect their health, not
      to mention the health of the family. They need a detailed Ova and
      Parasite exam to determine their parasite load. At one of their young
      adult physicals, they will have a complete blood screening as well,
      and an X-Ray is often done at the same time. There are tests for the
      herpes-B virus and others which affect humans as well.
      Diet is not difficult, but bananas will not do it. Primates need a
      carefully chosen diet of commercially prepared "Monkey Biscuit" and
      perhaps table foods. The table foods eaten must have at least as wide
      a variety as is offered to the other members of the family.  (January,
      Prepared by the Exotic Pet and Bird Clinic, 903 Fifth Avenue,
      Kirkland, WA 98033  Telephone:  (206) 827-6613