The 5 Cheapest Monkeys People Keep As Pets… But Should They?

“They’re as playful as monkeys" is one of many common animal analogies.
© Ludmila Ruzickova/

Written by Janet F. Murray

Published: June 8, 2024

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Monkeys are primates and share a lot of characteristics with humans. For example, monkeys are mischievous and funny, and they love interacting with humans. However, monkeys are wild animals and are not as easy to care for as dogs or cats. Monkeys need specialized care. This care may include housing, food, and veterinary care. Unfortunately, not all vets have the knowledge or experience to care for exotic animals. So before rushing to find out the five cheapest monkeys to keep as pets, it’s a good idea to know a little more about them, as well as review all laws and regulations that might prevent you from even owning one.

Monkey Business

Monkeys are indigenous to Africa, Asia, South America, and Central America. South and Central America are known as the New World. These monkeys differ from the ones found in Africa and Asia or the Old World. To break it down even further, there are 160 species of Old World monkeys all over Africa and Asia. In addition, there are 174 known species of New World monkeys. This total is an astounding 334 species of monkeys! And while this is a large number to source monkeys as pets, we are only going to explore the five cheapest monkeys to keep as pets.

Marmosets: The Cheapest Monkeys to Buy as Pets

marmosets sitting on branch

Marmosets, no matter which species, have soft, silky hair and are one of the cheapest monkeys to keep as pets.


Marmosets are the most loved and possibly one of the cutest monkeys to keep as pets. Because of their appearance and personalities, they are a firm favorite in the pet trade. Buying a marmoset will easily cost around $1,500. However, this price does not include cages, bedding, or other items to keep your marmoset happy. Common marmosets are the ones that you will typically see in pet shops across the country.

These cute little monkeys have brown and white fur with long prehensile tails. In addition, they have white ear tufts, which is why they are also known as white ear marmosets. These little monkeys can easily live to 20 years. They are very social animals and need a lot of attention from their human caretakers, mainly because they live in family groups in the wild. So pet owners should provide these pets with a specialized diet and care and should not eat human junk food at all.


adult and baby golden lion tamarins


golden lion tamarin

is a lovely orange primate and one of the cheaper monkeys you can keep as pets.


Like marmosets, tamarins are also tiny. They live in small social groups of up to 15 members. Tamarins are native to the Amazon forests and are very rare. These monkeys adapt well to captivity. As a result, their conservation status is improving. However, tamarins are social and require plenty of human care and attention. For example, tamarins are omnivores, so they need variety in their diets. Fruit, vegetables, eggs, insects, and yogurt are popular foods. Like the marmosets, they have a long lifespan of up to 15 years, making them a long-term commitment. If you want a tamarin as a pet, the lowest prices range from $1,500 to $2,500, and you can choose from 19 different species.

Squirrel Monkeys: Cute and Need Lots of Attention

three squirrel monkeys sitting on a tree branch



monkey can easily cost between $2,000 and $4,000.


Squirrel monkeys are very striking. They have greenish-olive fur and a white mask around their eyes. These small primates have a lifespan of about 25 years and require attentive care. Squirrel monkeys are omnivores, so they eat fruit, vegetables, and insects. Please do not feed them junk food as this can negatively affect their health. Like the other primates that make good pets, squirrel monkeys are social and thrive on companionship. They are energetic and intelligent, so prepare their living quarters to cater to these characteristics. Additionally, they are tree-dwelling and very agile climbers, which is necessary because they are indigenous to the rainforests of Central and South America. A squirrel monkey can easily cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

Macaques: Give Them Space and Stimulation

Closeup portrait of a Rhesus Macaque against a blurred green background

Though not all old world monkeys sweat, many do, including macaques and




Macaques are native to North Africa but also inhabit parts of Asia and Gibraltar. These monkeys quickly adapt to different surroundings and will live in rainforests or mountainous areas. Because they are adaptable, they are also comfortable around people and congregate close to towns or agricultural areas. Like all monkeys, macaques are highly social. Therefore, you can easily find them living in large troops of up to 50 members.

Macaques need a special diet that consists of mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. They also need high-protein treats to ensure they stay healthy. Roots, leaves, and whole plants are popular food choices. Additionally, they are very intelligent and will rapidly learn how to break in or out of enclosures. Buying a macaque can easily cost between $4,000 and $8,000. Macaques can live for 15 years and need lots of space to exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. These primates will quickly figure out how to open cage doors and windows to escape.

Capuchins: A Handful as Pet Monkeys

Favorite and Most Popular Animals: Monkeys

The cheapest monkeys to buy as pets include capuchins, which go for about $7,000.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

Capuchins are favored to keep as pets and are often the most loved and seen in the pet trade. Like the others, capuchins are intelligent, making it simple and fun to teach them various tricks. In addition, they are personable monkeys and love to interact with people. Capuchins come in diverse colors like the familiar black and brown. However, they also have white or cream-colored fur around their faces and necks. These monkeys are small, weighing about 8.81 pounds or 4 kgs, also live up to 25 years old.

Like all monkeys, they need lots of attention because they live in groups in the wild. Besides physical nurturing, these monkeys must have plenty of space to exercise to avoid becoming aggressive. In addition, capuchins are territorial and will urinate inside your house to mark territory, which is another consideration when buying them as pets. Similar to people, these monkeys enjoy variety in their meals. Feed them fruit, nuts, insects, and leaves to keep them happy. But also speak to the breeder about supplementing their diets with wild protein sources because they eat birds and frogs in the wild.

People have kept capuchins as pets since the 19th century. For instance, organ grinders used to keep capuchins as an additional business attraction and to collect money from patrons. Moreover, capuchins remain a favorite in the entertainment industry, including television series and films. A capuchin will cost you between $5,000 and $7,000. 

Summary Table Of The 5 Cheapest Monkeys To Keep As Pets

Before rushing to find out the five cheapest pet monkeys, it’s a good idea to know more about them and how to care for them.
2Tamarins$1,500 – $2,500
3Squirrel Monkeys$2,000 – $4,000
4Macaques$4,000 – $8,000
5Capuchins$5,000 – $7,000

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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