Monkeys don’t tend to make the best pets. Don’t get us wrong, they are cute and everything, but they don’t settle into domesticated life as well as your usual cat or dog. Some states agree and go as far as banning owning primates whatsoever. Others either simply restrict ownership or allow it completely.
While there is no federal regulation on primate ownership, each state really does its own thing. You have states like Arizona that don’t regulate monkey ownership at all and others, like West Virginia, that ban very specific kinds of monkeys.
Although some states do not regulate monkeys as pets, some states have restrictions surrounding these animals. While a pet monkey is not outright banned, some rules cover the breed of monkey people are allowed to keep. Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, and Tennessee have partial restrictions making it illegal to keep an ape as a pet, but not monkeys. In Tennessee, monkeys are allowed except for apes and baboons.
Connecticut has a grandfathering system for any monkeys owned before 10/1/2010 but is no longer allowing permits to be issued. In Illinois, residents are only able to own a capuchin monkey if they have severe or permanent motor disabilities. Every other form of private ownership is banned.
Apes are not permitted in Arizona, and in Indiana, you can have apes, baboons, and monkeys alike but require a special exotic animal permit. In Mississippi, all types of pet monkeys are allowed except macaques, baboons, and apes. Wisconsin, Florida, and Texas have detailed restrictions surrounding certain breeds and monkey species. Before considering a monkey as a pet, it is best to consult your local laws and regulations surrounding pet monkeys.
If you live in a state where pet monkeys are legal or restricted with the proper permits, it is essential to understand that monkeys are wild animals, no matter how tame they may seem.
In general, monkeys do not make good pets because:
It follows that these animals require special care. Also, states that allow monkeys may have detailed wellness checks, lengthy applications, and costly fees and fines needed to keep a monkey as a pet legally.
Some states also require a minimum age to adopt a monkey or have a designated number of volunteer hours working alongside monkeys to qualify for keeping one as a pet.
Other restrictions surround the type of habitat, enclosure, and environment you can provide for your pet monkey, with minimal square footage and space required for a healthy and thriving pet monkey.