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Home > General > Do Finger Monkeys Make Good Pets? Facts & Risks

Do Finger Monkeys Make Good Pets? Facts & Risks

person holding monkey

Finger Monkeys have been growing in popularity as exotic pets. Even though these pint-sized furballs are adorable, we do not recommend them as pets. Because Finger Monkeys are wild, they do not make good pets since they aren’t yet domesticated.

To learn more about Finger Monkeys and why we do not recommend them as pets, read on. This article explains the controversy about owning one of these monkeys and who these delicate creatures are best suited for. Spoiler alert: they are only suitable for professional organizations.

leaves divider leafWhat Is a Finger Monkey?

Despite their small and adorable size, Finger Monkeys are real monkeys. In fact, they are considered the smallest species of monkey. More so, they are one of the smallest primates around the globe. You may also hear these monkeys referred to as Thumb Monkeys, Little Lions, or Pocket Monkeys.

Even though Finger Monkeys have quite a few nicknames, their actual name is the Pygmy Marmoset. Marmosets, including the Finger Monkey, live in the treetops found in the South American rainforest. Of all Marmosets, the Finger Monkey is the smallest, growing only to be between 4.6 and 6.2 inches in total, excluding the tail.

Fluffy pygmy marmoset is perching on tree branch
Image By: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

Their Life in The Wild

In the wild, Finger Monkeys live incredibly social lives. They live in small groups that are made up of one male, one female, and all of their offspring. The size of Finger Monkey groups can range between 2 and 10 monkeys. Finger Monkeys are often monogamists, but there is sometimes an additional male to help care for newborns.

Female Finger Monkeys typically give birth twice a year and almost always give birth to twins. Sometimes, one or three monkeys will be born, but it is less common. Unlike many other animals, the males provide exclusive care for the newborn during its first two weeks of life.

In total, Finger Monkeys live between 12 and 16 years in the wild, but that life expectancy jumps up to between 15 and 22 years under human care. That being said, most research finds that only 25% of Finger Monkey babies make it to full maturity.

The Controversy Behind Owning Finger Monkeys

Now, let’s talk about owning Finger Monkeys specifically and the controversy surrounding it.

Reasons People Like Finger Monkeys

As you probably expect, ownership for Finger Monkeys is increasing because these creatures are small and cute. Let’s face it, these monkeys are downright irresistible to look at. Who doesn’t want a finger-sized bundle of joy?

Another benefit of Finger Monkeys being so small is that they are more affordable to care for. In comparison to larger monkeys and primates, Finger Monkeys are considered one of the most affordable monkeys to own as pets. They still cost thousands of dollars for purchase, but their food and financial requirements are much lower.

pygmy marmoset
Image Credit: Gareth, Pixabay

The Downsides of Finger Monkey Ownership

Simply put, Finger Monkeys are not domesticated. As a result, they do not adjust to captive living as well as dogs, cats, and some birds. When in captivity, Finger Monkeys can be depressed, bored, or downright anxious. This fact is really worrisome since Finger Monkeys tend to be aggressive as is. Even in the wild, male Finger Monkeys especially become aggressive and often throw their feces when angry.

Even though a Finger Monkey might not be able to kill you like a gorilla, Finger Monkeys can become really angry and destructive in captivity. They can destroy your home, scratch you, or harm other people inside the house.

Not to mention, you have to buy at least two Finger Monkeys in order for the creatures to feel happy. Unfortunately, most people do not have the means to afford two monkeys, which causes them to only buy one. This only makes the monkey’s boredom, depression, and anger skyrocket. At the same time, two monkeys are double-trouble.

Finally, the last downside to Finger Monkey ownership is that they are susceptible to many human diseases. Unlike dogs, Finger Monkeys can get your cold, the chicken pox, and even HIV. As a result, they can be very difficult to care for in terms of health care.

Do Finger Monkeys Make Good Pets?

With this controversy in mind, the question remains: do Finger Monkeys make good pets? No! Finger Monkeys do not make good pets. Even though these monkeys are very cute, the difficulties and drawbacks to owning Finger Monkeys outweigh the adorableness.

We find it incredibly unethical to own a Finger Monkey since domesticated lifestyles typically lead to monkey abuse, even if the abuse is unintentional. Likewise, owning Finger Monkeys as pets can be extremely difficult to the owner, resulting in a destroyed home and various injuries.

Thus, Finger Monkeys make terrible pets. Even though they sure are cute, don’t get one yourself. Simply get your Finger Monkey kicks by visiting the zoo, watching Animal Planet, or looking up silly videos online.

pygmy marmoset
Image By: Andres Felipe Urrea Giraldo, Pixabay

Who Are Finger Monkeys Right For?

Finger Monkeys do not make good pets. They are wild creatures that need very specific living conditions and considerations. Regular pet owners simply do not have the skill, space, resources, or expertise to provide what Finger Monkeys need.

That being said, Finger Monkeys are suitable for professionals. For example, they can make a great addition to a licensed and reputable zoo since they are so cute to look at but will still have all the resources they need. Once again, Finger Monkeys are only suitable for professionals who know how to properly care for these delicate creatures.

How to Care for a Finger Monkey

In order to take care of a Finger Monkey, it’s critical to replicate its natural habitat. This includes having an extremely large habitat with a lot of climbing and swinging potential. The cage must be large enough to have at least two Finger Monkeys, if not more. For best results, the large enclosure needs to be outside in direct sunlight.

Finger Monkeys also need a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and insects. Baby Finger Monkeys especially need a particular diet since they must be fed every 2 hours. Make sure to have an exotic veterinarian who specializes in primates and Finger Monkeys in case your Finger Monkey gets sick.

leaves divider leafFinal Thoughts

We cannot overstate how bad of a decision it is to bring a Finger Monkey into your home, both for your sake and the monkey’s. Finger Monkeys are wild animals that are not suitable for domesticated life. Instead, they need a full sized enclosure that replicates their natural habitat, as well as other Finger Monkey friends.

As a result, Finger Monkeys make terrible pets for regular pet owners. They may be a great addition to a zoo or other professional organizations, but they should not be purchased by regular pet owners, even if primate ownership is legal in your state.

Featured Image Credit: Gansstock, Shutterstock

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