Do Spider Monkeys Make Good Pets?

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: September 26, 2023
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People have long been fascinated by and occasionally horrified by wild creatures. Wild animals may be utterly adorable, especially when they’re young, so it’s only reasonable to imagine how much fun it would be to have one as a pet. The temptation is frequently even more difficult to resist when it comes to one of our closest living relatives, the monkeys. Baby spider monkeys are adorable, smart, and frequently dressed in diapers or baby clothing. As a result, they are frequently offered for sale by exotic pet brokers. However, are spider monkeys suitable as pets? No, monkeys, including spider monkeys, do not make good pets, and we do not suggest keeping these creatures as pets.

Spider monkeys walking in grass

Spider monkeys have long prehensile tails and dangly limbs that give them a spider-like appearance.

©Nick Fox/Shutterstock.com

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Why Spider Monkeys Make Bad Pets

The most straightforward response to this question is that wild creatures, like spider monkeys, are not intended to be kept as pets. They can never be totally domesticated like domestic animals; they thrive in the wild. Here are a few further explanations for why you shouldn’t own a pet spider monkey.

Spider Monkeys as Pets Is Often Illegal

Keeping a spider monkey as a pet may not be permitted, depending on where you reside. Even if it is permitted, you could require a permit or adhere to stringent guidelines when it comes to housing and taking care of the spider monkey. 

Spider monkey numbers in the wild are in danger for a variety of causes, including the black market pet trade. Baby spider monkeys are frequently taken from the wild and sold as pets. Unfortunately, there’s no way to be certain if you’re buying an illegally captured wild monkey, regardless of whether your pet spider monkey is allegedly captive-bred.

They Won’t Thrive as a Pet

Your pet monkey can never truly be happy, no matter how devoted an owner you are to your primate friend. The main cause of this is that spider monkeys are intensely social creatures who live for interaction with other primates. If not, pet spider monkeys frequently exhibit negative behavioral patterns and neurotic tendencies. 

A pet spider monkey can be challenging to keep healthy, mostly because it’s challenging to mimic its natural diet accurately. Due to dietary concerns, many pet spider monkeys experience health complications, such as diabetes.

Spider monkey mother and baby

There’s no doubting the cuteness of a baby spider monkey!

©StanBullett/Shutterstock.com

These Animals Are Pricey

A pet spider monkey will cost at least $10,000, if not more. In addition, mature spider monkeys require a specific habitat that can be costly to construct in order to live comfortably. These enclosures frequently need to be inspected and approved. 

In captivity, spider monkeys have a 40-year lifespan. A 3-month-old spider monkey will cost you up to 40 years’ worth of food and housing if you bring it home. Also, finding and affording veterinary care for a pet spider monkey can be very difficult.

Spider Monkeys Are Dangerous

Although young spider monkeys are adorable, all children eventually mature. An adult spider monkey may not behave like a domestic pet just because a baby does. Notwithstanding their upbringing, adult spider monkeys continue to be wild animals

These are powerful, erratic, frequently vicious animals with a large mouthful of pointy teeth that can do significant harm if they bite you. Due to our shared ancestry with spider monkeys, you run the risk of contracting several illnesses or parasites from a pet monkey.

A brown Spider monkey stares into the distance next to the beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Wild creatures, like spider monkeys, are not intended to be kept as pets. Instead, they thrive in the wild.

©Jason Wells/Shutterstock.com

Things to Consider Before Buying a Pet Monkey

No matter how intriguing the thought of having a monkey is to you, keep in mind that there are a lot of things that one needs to plan for beforehand.

Potty Training Is a Must! 

The majority of people eagerly anticipate hiring professionals to help them toilet-train their pets. As monkeys prefer to be outside, potty training them will be dangerous. 

Monkeys must be young and small in size for diapers to be effective on them. They will develop the ability to rip the diapers apart as they become older. As they run out of things to do, a few monkeys play with their own waste.

Needing a Mate

Every social animal has a period of time during which they yearn to mate. Whether we’re talking about cats or dogs, the mating season is always important. The health of the animal is typically in jeopardy if the right breeding partners cannot be obtained. 

The likelihood of you finding the ideal partner for your pet is slim. It will be difficult for you to find the proper breed at the proper age. If you can’t find the appropriate partner, your pet monkey can become quite hostile.

Plenty of Room

It is crucial to remember that monkeys are unusual animals who require room to roam. You cannot let this animal walk freely in your backyard because it is unlikely that it is maintained as a pet, and there is a strong likelihood that it will be stolen. 

Spider monkeys on a tree.

Spider monkeys are intensely social creatures who live for interaction with other primates.

©Pakhnyushchy/Shutterstock.com

A monkey should have a large home. It has to have bars and swings in addition to its size for them to use its energy. The gates must be impenetrable to humans and ensure that they cannot escape. 

Choose the proper sturdy and stable material if you’re thinking of building your own cage. To prevent the animal from feeling confined, there must be adequate ventilation.

Final Thoughts

Though we’d never advise having a monkey as a pet, we understand that some people will do it anyway. As animal lovers and advocates, we hope this guide serves as an outline of why this animal belongs in the wild and what you need if you do decide to own one. 

Bonus: What Do Spider Monkeys Eat?

What Do Spider Monkeys Eat (1)
A pet spider monkey’s diet would need to mimic what they would eat in the wild.

Spider monkeys get their name from their spider-like appearance when they are hanging from trees by their tails with gangly arms and legs dangling. They spend most of their time in the trees of their native forests of Central and South America – searching for fruit. Spider monkeys eat flowers, seeds, bark, and small insects, during the dry season when fruit isn’t available. Captive monkeys need a diet consisting of 80-90% fruit with leaves, flowers, and seeds to supplement.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © frank wouters from antwerpen, belgium , België , Belgique, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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