Macaque As A Pet: Profile, Care, Health, Feeding, Nutrition - Primates Park (2024)

Macaques, with their expressive faces and playful demeanor, undoubtedly rank among the most endearing creatures in the animal kingdom. Their innate curiosity and intelligence often captivate the hearts of onlookers, drawing admiration from people worldwide. Whether swinging through the treetops or foraging for food on the forest floor, macaques exude a charm that is difficult to resist. However, this article will give an overview of the macaque as a pet.

The Temptation of Keeping Macaques as Pets

Despite their wild nature, some individuals are drawn to the idea of keeping macaques as pets. The allure of having such an intelligent and charismatic creature as a companion can be strong, leading some people to overlook the inherent challenges and ethical considerations involved. However, it’s essential to recognize that macaques are not domesticated animals and have complex social and behavioral needs that are difficult to meet in a home environment.

The Importance of Responsible Ownership

While it may be tempting to bring a macaque into one’s home, it’s crucial to consider the welfare of the animal above all else. Keeping a macaque as a pet can lead to numerous issues, including behavioral problems, stress, and even physical harm to both the animal and its human caretakers. Furthermore, the exotic pet trade often involves unethical practices such as illegal capture and trafficking of wild animals, contributing to the decline of wild populations and disrupting ecosystems.

Advocating for Wildlife Conservation

Instead of encouraging the keeping of macaques as pets, it’s imperative to advocate for their protection in their natural habitats. Supporting conservation efforts aimed at preserving macaque populations and their ecosystems is essential for ensuring their long-term survival. By raising awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and promoting responsible stewardship of natural resources, we can help safeguard the future of these enchanting primates and their habitats for generations to come.

What kind of primate can you have as a pet?

List of primates commonly kept as a pet

  • Capuchins
  • Guenons
  • Macaques
  • Marmosets
  • Squirrels
  • Spider Monkeys
  • Tamarins

The Uniqueness of Barbary Macaques

Unlike domesticated animals such as dogs, Barbary macaques have never undergone the selective breeding process to develop traits conducive to living as pets. Their genetic makeup and behavioral characteristics are firmly rooted in their wild ancestry, making them ill-suited for life in a human environment.

The Incompatibility with Human Companionship

Barbary macaques lack the capacity to adapt psychologically to living alongside humans. Unlike domesticated animals that have evolved over generations to form bonds with humans, macaques inherently rely on social interactions with their own species for emotional well-being and behavioral regulation. Attempting to substitute human companionship for the intricate social dynamics of Barbary macaque groups is fraught with challenges and can lead to significant welfare issues for the animal.

Exceptional Cases and Responsible Ownership

While some individuals may share their lives with macaques without causing harm, these cases are exceptions rather than the norm. Properly caring for a macaque as a pet requires a high level of knowledge, resources, and commitment. It entails understanding the species-specific needs of the animal and providing appropriate enrichment, socialization, and healthcare. However, even with the best intentions and care, keeping a macaque as a pet remains a contentious and ethically complex endeavor.

Prudence and Wildlife Welfare

Anyone considering keeping a macaque as a pet must approach the decision with utmost prudence and preparedness. It’s essential to recognize that primates, including macaques, are inherently wild animals and do not thrive in captivity. Moreover, larger primates like chimpanzees pose even greater challenges and risks when kept in human environments. Advocating for the welfare of wildlife involves acknowledging the unsuitability of primates as pets and supporting measures to protect them in their natural habitats. By respecting the innate needs and behaviors of wild animals, we can promote their well-being and conservation for the benefit of both present and future generations.

Pricing and Acquisition of Macaque Monkeys

Accessibility from Breeders: While the ownership of macaque monkeys as pets is discouraged due to ethical, financial, and safety concerns, they are readily available from private breeders.

Cost Range: The price of acquiring a macaque monkey varies depending on the species and factors such as availability and demand. Lemurs, tamarins, and marmosets typically range from $1,500 to $2,500, while rhesus macaques and baboons may cost around $3,500. Larger species like spider monkeys can fetch prices of approximately $6,000.

Varied Price Points: However, prices can vary significantly, with smaller monkeys such as capuchins costing around $7,000, while larger primates like chimpanzees may command prices as high as $70,000.

Ongoing Expenses and Considerations

Lifetime Costs: The initial purchase price of a macaque monkey is just the beginning. Ongoing expenses such as food, diapers, and veterinary bills can quickly accumulate, resulting in astronomical costs over the primate’s lifetime.

Complex Care Needs: While macaque monkeys may appear adorable and relatable due to their genetic similarities to humans, caring for them can be incredibly challenging. With over 350 species of primates, each with unique needs, ensuring proper care for a pet macaque requires thorough understanding and commitment.

Specifics of Macaque Ownership

Species Selection: Among the various macaque species, Celebes, Java, Pig-tailed, Rhesus, and Stump-tailed Macaques are commonly kept as pets.

Natural Habitat and Social Structure: Macaques originate from Asia and typically reside in large social groups with intricate hierarchies. Understanding their natural behavior and social needs is crucial for providing appropriate care in captivity.

Housing Requirements: Despite being smaller than some primate species, macaque monkeys require spacious and secure enclosures to prevent escape and ensure their well-being. Enclosures should be at least 30 square feet to accommodate their active nature and provide a safe environment.

Responsible Ownership: Owning a macaque monkey as a pet demands careful consideration, as it involves significant financial investments and complex care requirements. While they may be appealing as pets, prospective owners must weigh the ethical, financial, and practical implications before making such a commitment. Proper education and understanding of the species’ needs are paramount for ensuring the welfare of pet macaque monkeys in captivity.

Considerations Before Acquiring a Primate Pet

Primates as Pets: Before finalizing your decision to adopt or purchase a pet primate, it’s crucial to understand the significant considerations involved.

Poor Pet Choice: Overall, primates do not make suitable pets, especially larger ones like chimpanzees, which are among the worst choices for household pets.

Inherent Risks: Regardless of whether the animal is raised from birth, all primates pose a potential risk to you and your family. Even smaller monkeys have the potential to become aggressive, bite, or cause damage to your home or their enclosure.

Serious Dangers: Larger monkeys and chimpanzees pose even greater risks of causing severe injury, personal harm, or even death due to their size and strength.

Ethical and Practical Concerns

Wild Nature: Despite some rare cases where a macaque may be well-trained and live peacefully, the inherent risk of keeping primates as pets is too high in most instances.

Longevity and Care Needs: Primates are long-lived creatures with substantial care requirements. Despite their huggable appearance, they are not cuddly pets and demand a significant amount of daily attention and interaction.

Space Requirements: Primates need large enclosures to thrive, and even some zoos have faced criticism for inadequate space provision. While some may adapt to enclosures of 30 square feet or more, others struggle to adjust to life in captivity.

Dietary and Behavioral Needs

Varied Diet and Enrichment: Monkeys and apes require a diverse and fresh diet, as well as several hours of daily enrichment and interaction with their caregivers. Neglecting these needs can lead to loneliness, depression, and aggression in the animal.

Loneliness and Depression: Failure to address the social and environmental needs of primates can result in feelings of loneliness or depression, leading to behavioral problems and potential aggression.

Serious Considerations: Owning a primate as a pet requires careful consideration of the ethical, practical, and safety implications involved. It’s crucial to prioritize the well-being of both the animal and your family by making informed and responsible decisions regarding pet ownership.

Educational Resources: Before acquiring a primate pet, thoroughly research their care requirements and consider consulting with experts in primate care to ensure you can provide a suitable and enriching environment for the animal. Ultimately, responsible pet ownership entails understanding and addressing the complex needs of the animal to promote their welfare and happiness in captivity.

Importance of Proper Diet for Macaques

Reproductive Success: Maintaining macaques on an optimal diet is crucial for ensuring reproductive success. Suboptimal diets can significantly reduce the likelihood of successful reproduction.

Specialized Dietary Requirements: Gum-feeding primates, such as the Cebuella species, have particularly specialized dietary needs. While historical feeding practices involved a combination of cake soaked in milk, modern substitutes have since been developed, leading to improved reproductive success in captivity.

Balanced Nutrition: Providing macaques with the correct foods in appropriate quantities and on a regular basis is essential for keeping them in good health. Incorrect diets are a common cause of health problems and diseases among primates.

Dietary Requirements for Macaques

Basic Nutritional Needs: Macaques, like other primates, require a balanced diet consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, along with essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.

Omnivorous Nature: While most primates are omnivorous and require animal protein in their diets, there are exceptions to this rule. Dietary requirements must be tailored according to each species’ natural feeding habits.

Feeding Regularity: Consistency in feeding schedules is crucial for maintaining macaques’ health. Observing their feeding habits closely helps determine the appropriate quantity and variety of foods required.

Mimicking Natural Foraging Behavior

Stimulation of Natural Behavior: Macaques spend much of their time in the wild foraging for food, engaging in activities such as hunting, scratching, and searching. In captivity, it’s essential to stimulate their natural foraging instincts through feeding practices.

Exercise and Activity: Providing opportunities for natural foraging activities helps macaques stay physically and mentally stimulated. Regular exercise is vital for their overall health and well-being.

Seasonal Feeding: Adjusting feeding practices according to seasonal availability of fruits and vegetables mimics the natural dietary patterns of macaques in the wild. This ensures a varied and nutritionally balanced diet throughout the year.

Specific Nutritional Needs

Vitamin Requirements: Macaques in captivity require a significant supply of vitamins, with Neo-Tropical Primates needing more vitamin D3 and vitamin C than Old World Primates. Meeting these vitamin requirements is essential for maintaining their health and vitality.

Adaptation to Captivity: While macaques in the wild expend energy foraging and evading predators, captive macaques have less opportunity for physical activity. Therefore, it’s crucial to adapt feeding practices to encourage natural behavior and prevent obesity-related health issues.

Comprehensive Care: Providing macaques with a balanced and varied diet, along with opportunities for natural foraging activities, is essential for their overall health and well-being in captivity. By mimicking their natural dietary patterns and stimulating their instincts, pet owners can ensure that their macaque companions thrive and lead fulfilling lives.

Macaque As A Pet: Profile, Care, Health, Feeding, Nutrition - Primates Park (1)

Essential Suggestions for Macaque Pet Care

Sugar-Free Diet: Ensure all food items provided to macaques are sugar-free to prevent health complications. How AI, ChatGPT maximizes earnings of many people in minutes

Proper Cleaning: Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before feeding them to macaques to avoid potential illnesses such as pseudotuberculosis and salmonellosis.

Freshness Matters: Use only fresh food items to prevent the risk of salmonellosis, parasites, and other infections.

Avoid Raw Meat and Insects: Refrain from feeding macaques raw meat, baby mice, or co*ckroaches to prevent infections such as toxoplasmosis and infestations with protozoa or helminths.

Reasons Why Macaques Are Not Ideal Pets

Cercopithecine Herpesvirus Concerns: Macaques are carriers of Cercopithecine herpesvirus, also known as herpes B virus. This virus, while usually not harmful to the monkeys, can be fatal to humans if transmitted through a bite, causing encephalitis (brain swelling). Motivation – Mind – Success – Thinking – Productivity – Happiness

Persistent Infection: Herpesviruses can remain latent in the body for life, periodically shedding and potentially transmitting the virus to humans without warning.

Human Health Risk: The transmission of herpes B virus from macaques to humans, often through bites or scratches, poses a serious health risk, as it can lead to severe neurological complications.

Challenges of Petting Macaques

Infectious Diseases:

  • All substances provided to macaques must be sugar-free to avoid health complications. Business – Money Making – Marketing – E-commerce
  • Vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly before feeding to prevent illnesses like pseudotuberculosis and salmonellosis.
  • Fresh items should be used to prevent infections like salmonellosis and parasites.

Dietary Restrictions:

  • Avoid feeding raw meat, baby mice, and co*ckroaches to prevent diseases such as toxoplasmosis and worm infestations.

Reasons Macaques Aren’t Ideal Pets

Herpes B Virus Risk:

  • Macaques are carriers of Cercopithecine herpesvirus, which can cause fatal encephalitis in humans if transmitted through a bite.

Injuries and Aggression:

Complex Care Requirements:

  • Macaques require specialized care and a proper diet, making them unsuitable for casual pet owners.
  • Neglecting their care can lead to stress-related health and behavioral issues.

Long Lifespan:

Responsible Ownership Considerations

Comprehensive Care Obligation:

  • Owning a pet macaque requires a thorough understanding of their unique needs and a commitment to providing proper care throughout their lifespan.
  • Potential owners must consider the risks associated with infectious diseases, injuries, and the long-term commitment required for responsible pet ownership.
  • While macaques may seem appealing as pets, the challenges and responsibilities involved make them unsuitable for most individuals, and careful consideration must be given before acquiring one.

Caution in Macaque Ownership

Health Risks: The presence of Cercopithecine herpesvirus in macaques, coupled with the potential for transmission to humans, underscores the inherent risks associated with keeping macaques as pets. RPM 3.0 – 60% CONVERSION & Money for Affiliate Marketing

Responsibility and Awareness: Prospective macaque owners must be fully aware of the health risks and legal regulations associated with owning these primates. Understanding the importance of proper hygiene, diet, and veterinary care is essential for ensuring the well-being of both the animals and their human caregivers.

Alternative Considerations: Given the significant health and safety concerns associated with macaque ownership, potential pet owners may wish to explore alternative pet options that pose fewer risks to both themselves and the animals.

Other Recommended Reading

  • Baby Macaque Description and Facts
  • Lion Tailed Monkey Description and Facts
  • Black Macaque (Macaca nigra) Description
  • Japanese Macaque Baby Profile and Description
  • Macaca fuscata – How Much Endangered Is It?
  • Macaque Monkey Facts and Description
  • Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra) Description
  • Tibetan Macaque (Macaca thibetana) Facts
  • Assam Macaque (Macaca assamensis) Facts
  • Toque Macaque (Macaca sinica) Description
  • Bonnet Macaque (Macaca radiata) Description
  • Southern Pig Tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) Facts
  • Lion Tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus) Profile
  • Crab Eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) Description
  • Northern Greater Galago (Otolemur garnettii) Facts
  • Senegal Galago (Galago senegalensis) Description
  • Brown Greater Galago (Otolemur crassicaudatus) Facts
  • South African Galago Description and Profile
  • Rondo Dwarf Galago (Galagoides rondoensis) Facts
  • Lesser Galago Description and Facts
Macaque As A Pet: Profile, Care, Health, Feeding, Nutrition - Primates Park (2024)


What are the dietary needs of macaque? ›

Macaques are omnivorous-frugivorous primates, i.e., they eat fruits and also leaves, flowers, shoots, roots, invertebrates, and small animals in variable quantities (Maruhashi 1980; Caldecott 1986; Kurup & Kumar 1993; Krishnamani 1994; O'Brien & Kinnaird 1997; Su & Lee 2001; Rowe & Myers 2011; Schülke et al.

What is a macaque's favorite food? ›

Our study found that plant roots (30.9 ± 30.1%) and young leaves (28.0 ± 33.1%) were the main foods eaten by macaques. The preferred foods of rhesus macaques were young leaves, fruits, and seeds, and the consumption of these items was positively correlated with its food availability.

Can you have a macaque as a pet? ›

SMACC stated: “Unfortunately, macaques kept as pets are suffering by the very nature of being kept as a pet, they are not domesticated species like dogs or cats, they are wild animals and their needs cannot be met in a human setting.”

How many calories does a macaque need each day? ›

The maintenance metabolic rate (kcal/day) is 3,621 for Pongidae (gorillas, orangutans), 1,099–1,324 for baboons, 632–637 for langurs, 567–1,146 for rhesus macaques, 31–76 for marmosets, and 57–105 for tamarins.

What do macaques eat in captivity? ›

If feeding insects to macaques in captivity, feed the insects on a calcium rich diet for 2-3 days before use [31]. Supplement commercially available, dry monkey pellets with fresh foods, including: - Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens [2]. Tough, fibrous foods will help to maintain good dental hygiene.

Will macaques eat meat? ›

Macaques are omnivorous, and eat both plants and meat. Species differ considerably in their diet and whilst often categorised as eating one main food type, for example frugivorous (fruit-eating), folivorous (leaf-eating) and insectivorous (insect-eating), most primates have varied diets.

What is the best food for monkeys? ›

In the wild, rhesus monkeys thrive on fruits, seeds, roots, herbs and insects. In captivity, monkeys primarily eat monkey chow, and an array of fresh, seasonal fruit, vegetables and nuts once to twice a week to provide them with variety and to supplement their diet (photo below).

What is the safest monkey for a pet? ›

Capuchin monkeys are one of the more common primates in the pet trade. The black-capped, or tufted, capuchin appears to be the most common species kept.

What's the difference between a monkey and a macaque? ›

The most basic way to tell the difference is to see whether or not the animal has a tail. Most monkeys have tails, while no apes have tails. But this isn't a fool-proof method, since most but not all monkeys have tails. For instance there are a couple species of macaque that do not have tails, but macaques are monkeys.

Can macaque monkeys be potty trained? ›

No. Most monkeys cannot be effectively toilet trained. Sometimes, younger monkeys can be partially potty trained, but they lose that ability as they mature. In addition, as they're attempting to potty train, they tend to throw their poop and play with their pee.

What is the feeding behavior of macaque? ›


Macaques are highly food motivated. In the wild they spend 20-40% of their day foraging for food, with variance between species and seasons [50].

Do macaques eat eggs? ›

Macaques are omnivores, meaning they eat a range of foods of plant and animal origin. Their diet is principally fruit, berries, seeds, shoots, flowers, herbs, but they will also eat insects, eggs, birds and rodents.

Do macaques have food pouches? ›

An entire monkey subfamily, Cercopithecine, including guenons, baboons, and macaques, is defined by having cheek pouches, which extend down the sides of their neck.

How long do macaque monkeys live in captivity? ›

Rhesus macaques live approximately 25 years in captivity, with a maximum recorded lifespan of 40 years. While compressed by comparison, the relative timing of their life history parallels that of humans, from development through maturation, reproduction and senescence.

Do macaques like to swim? ›

Swimmers and non-swimmers

Crab-eating macaques are the exception in their family of animals: most other species of monkey are rather afraid of water, swim only in emergencies, and cannot dive. Great apes cannot even swim. However, like humans, they are able to learn. All other mammals cope well in water.

What do macaques drink? ›

Rhesus macaques living far from water sources lick dewdrops from leaves and drink rainwater accumulated in tree hollows.

What is the diet of a Tibetan macaque? ›

Diet. Tibetan macaques are omnivores. For the most part, they are vegetarians, eating fruit, leaves, and occasionally bamboo or grass. They will also, from time to time, eat insects, birds, or snakes.

What are the dietary needs of a monkey? ›

In the wild, most monkeys are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and meat. And all monkeys eat about the same things. Depending on their habitat, there may be some slight changes, but all monkeys eat fruits, leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, vegetables, and insects.

What is a Japanese macaque diet? ›

Diet. Opportunistic omnivores, Japanese macaques eat fruit, seeds, young leaves, flowers, tree bark, fungi, bird eggs, insects, and invertebrates such as snails, crabs, and crayfish. Over 213 plant species are included in their diet.

What are rhesus macaque eating habits? ›

The rhesus macaque's typical diet includes roots, fruit, seeds, and bark, but also insects and small animals. They live in active, noisy troops that can include up to 200 animals. Though these monkeys are good climbers (and swimmers), troops spend a lot of time on the ground.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ouida Strosin DO

Last Updated:

Views: 6054

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ouida Strosin DO

Birthday: 1995-04-27

Address: Suite 927 930 Kilback Radial, Candidaville, TN 87795

Phone: +8561498978366

Job: Legacy Manufacturing Specialist

Hobby: Singing, Mountain biking, Water sports, Water sports, Taxidermy, Polo, Pet

Introduction: My name is Ouida Strosin DO, I am a precious, combative, spotless, modern, spotless, beautiful, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.