How much does a monkey cost, and should you buy one?

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Monkeys are smart, fun, and lovable animals, making them ideal pets. Many species can be trained after domestication. You can even teach some monkeys to do acrobatics and chores around the house. Although buying monkeys as pets sounds tempting to many animal lovers, they require a lot of effort and maintenance. Let's find out how much monkeys cost and whether you should keep one as a pet.

the smallest monkey squirrel monkey
The squirrel monkey is the most abundant primate in the riparian forests of Guyana and the Amazon basin.

©Ludmila Ruzickova/

the price of a monkey

While most pet monkeys are small to medium sized, they command a much higher price tag than the average pet. This cost is because the price of monkeys depends on the breed. But other than that, monkeys of all kinds are expensive. When buying a monkey from a breeder, the cost can range from $1,500 to over $60,000. You should expect to pay a higher price when buying from a private breeder, as they can set the price based on the needs of their customers. For example, with a popular movie featuring a cute monkey, demand may change. If there is a capuchin monkey in the movie, the cost of buying the species goes up.

The average price of popular monkey species is:

  • Capuchins – $5,000 to $7,000
  • Squirrel Monkey – $9,000 or more
  • Macaques – $4,000 to $8,000
  • Spider Monkey – $6,000 to $14,000
  • Marmoset – $1,500 to $2,500
  • Marmoset – $1,500 to $2,500
  • Baboons – $3,500 or more

You can also adopt a monkey. The effort of becoming a primate pet owner is in some cases free, but can still be as expensive as buying a monkey from a breeder. Zoos and other animal facilities sometimes give monkeys up for adoption for less than what keepers charge. However, zoos and other animal facilities frequently receive offers or requests to adopt monkeys and other animals, so these institutions rarely offer primates for adoption. Still, in rare cases, individuals can adopt monkeys.

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The cost of preparing a monkey

As expected with any pet, there are additional costs beyond the purchase. If monkeys are to be in the same area as humans, they need cages, habitat, food, veterinary care, and diapers. The fees pile up, often costing more than $1,000 and reaching as high as $3,500. Monkeys will also need other items such as bedding in a cage or pen, feeding bowls, exercise equipment, and toys. These items usually cost between $100 and $200. Diapers can cost about $65, while veterinary care can cost more than $200.

Capuchin Teeth - Close Up
Capuchin monkeys are a common species of monkey that can be kept as pets.

© Ondrej Prosicky/

The monthly cost of owning a monkey

Monkeys will live a long life if you give them the proper care they need. This type of care means you'll pay $200 to $1,000 a month over the next few years. However, this amount depends on the species you have. Larger monkeys eat more and need new toys and exercise equipment more often, so they cost more. Smaller monkeys eat less food and are less destructive than larger monkeys, meaning they are more cost-effective. However, don't underestimate the damage that baby monkeys can do when bored, as they can tear through furniture and injure family members, pets, or you, resulting in costly medical bills.

monkey care

Monkeys are not your ordinary pets, so a regular veterinarian will often not be able to provide the necessary medical care for your pet monkey. This requirement also means that owners may have to find a veterinarian who specializes in primates. If you take good care of your monkey, its healthcare costs may not be a monthly expense. Still, they may have specific medical conditions that require regular medication and specialist care. In such cases, health care costs can rise to over $500 or more per visit to the veterinarian.

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food bill

Depending on the monkey's species, age and size, their monthly food bills can range from $100 to $1,000. Smaller monkeys require only small amounts of food, fruit and vegetables each month. Because of their eating habits, food bills can add up to about $100 a month. Larger pet monkeys will require more food or may require a special diet.


Monkeys are notoriously mischievous and they often get themselves into tricky and dangerous situations. This behavior is why you must have insurance coverage for your pet, as they will most likely need to see a doctor at least once in their life. Pet insurance is about $50 per month, but can be more expensive depending on the species. You may also want to consult your insurance advisor about coverage for damages if your pet primate injures someone, their pet, or their property. So, before buying a pet monkey, consider the cost of pet monkey care.

Should You Get a Pet Monkey?

While monkeys are cute, affectionate, and fun pets, keeping one is not recommended. Monkeys are wild animals, unlike common pets such as cats, dogs, and hamsters. These animals are not domesticated and generally do not like to be kept in captivity. Smaller monkeys may be easier to manage, but owners tend to spoil them. When owners indulge larger primates, they can become unmanageable and dangerous around your home and family.

The cost of pet monkeys may be affordable for many, but the best place for monkeys is in the wild and not in cages.

©Edwin Butter/

Laws About Possessing Monkeys

Internationally, monkeys are protected by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, but that hasn't stopped countries from enacting their own legislation. In the United States, laws regarding keeping monkeys vary from state to state. For example, keeping monkeys is legal in some states, while others require owners to be licensed.

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States with no restrictions on monkey ownership are:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • iowa
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • south carolina
  • Virginia
  • washington state
  • west virginia
  • the state of Wisconsin

The states that completely ban private ownership of monkeys are:

  • california
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • new hampshire
  • new mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • rhode island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming


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about the author

I'm a freelance writer with over eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers many genres, and I have a business degree. I'm also the proud author of my memoir, My Life as a Liam. This work details the impact of living with an undiagnosed infection such as Rickettsia, such as Lyme disease. By sharing this story, I hope to give others hope and courage to overcome life's challenges. During my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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