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Monkey Ownership In General

Do not bring a monkey home without a cage (primate cages) to put him in. A monk brought into new surroundings will usually be very frightened and will need the sense of security that his own cage can give him. Practically no monkey should be given complete freedom. When out of his cage he should be watched, because even a little squirrel can open a kitchen cabinet and empty packages. of flour, sugar, coffee, etc., into piles on the floor or poison himself on bleaches, disinfectants, nutmegs or pills. Also such house plants as colius, poinsettias or crown-of-thorns, and such decorations as holly and mistletoe can kill him.

His cage should be large enough so that he can climb and swing and play, and therefore you must consider his size and how much he will grow. If you so not have the room for a large cage be sure you get a small monkey. NO bird cage is suitable for a monkey no matter how small, and capuchins and the larger species need very strong cages made with heavy turkey wire or chain link. He should have shelves, a heavy rope or length of hose to swing on (never use chain or a thin rope which can strangle him) and a sleeping box or hammock. The latter should be made of some heavy material as anything which can ravel out or tear can also get wrapped around a hand or foot stopping circulation. Or around his neck causing his death. Capuchins especially wrap things around their necks and have strangled on Venetian blind cords, neckties, raveled pieces of old towels etc.

Some states are now setting minimum cage sizes, for the larger you can make it the better. However, keep in mind that you must clean it daily and disinfect it at least weekly. Make sure that the cage is so placed that it is not in a draft nor too close to a radiator or register that may deliver too much heat. See to it that there is enough humidity. Too dry a heat in winter can kill it. Do not subject it to sudden drops in temperature, which can cause a cold that may develop into pneumonia. On the other hand if you live in the warm states, don't take it from an air-conditioned house into a hot day, they get heat stroke. If put outside be sure he has water that he can not spill, and shade. A monk can die of sun-stroke in a half hour.

Don't leave him at any place where he hasn't something to climb up to get away from strange dogs or "strange people" who sometimes have been known to harm monkeys left out alone. Be very careful of what sort of leash you use if you fasten him out, that he can not get it twisted around his neck. A waist collar or cat harness is preferable to a neck collar for safety reasons, and the leash should be connected to a swivelling ring so that he won't just wrap it around and round the post. The best place for him outside is in a large cage or pen. Don't let a monkey wonder at will outside. They can eat twigs and leaves of cherry or elderberry, rhododendron or laurel, oleander, wisteria and yew, all of which can kill them. In a vegetable garden the foliage of rhubarb, tomato and potato plants are also poisonous. Monkeys can climb up a power pole and be electrocuted. They can run out into traffic and get struck by a car. They can stray into some neighboring property and be shot as a dangerous animal, or killed by a dog. All these things have happened to pet monkeys.

If he should escape, don't run after him or let other people try to help by chasing him. Have someone watch where he goes and quickly get some favorite food, a paper bag and a mirror or some shiny object. Sit where he can see you looking in the bag and taking out food, flash the mirror or tin can around and usually his curiosity will bring him down to you.

Should you have a baby monkey it should be carried as much as possible. If you must leave it in its cage, give it a stuffed toy or tightly hemmed piece of blanket or terry cloth as a substitute mother. A hammock of man-made sheepskin which is used in hospitals to prevent bed-sores is ideal. It can be bought in the medical supply stores or drug stores that keep such supplies, and while it is expensive it can be washed day after day and look like new, and it cannot be torn or shredded by little "steel fingers". It can be used to line a hanging basket instead of a hammock which will swing gently and make the little one feel "mother" is alive and real. This "sheepskin" is also excellent for sick monks, for those so immobilized by rickets they can only lie, or for padding cages of epileptic simians.

Many babies under a year old perish during the first few months of captivity, and the younger they are, the less chance they have for survival. It is very important to watch carefully for any sign of illness because a monk is often dangerously sick before it is obvious. Nearly all young monkeys can be diapered and dressed but about 85 percent of these will not permit it when mature, so keep this in mind. Monkeys do not like to have a soiled diaper on, and some learn to wait until they go back to their cages to relieve themselves, and in time can come out without a diaper and go back to their cage when necessary. Complete "housebreaking" is usually impossible.

Diapers can be make with a tai-hole bound with elastic thread or having two or three inches of absorbent material sewn in to form a little sleeve down the tail to prevent leakage. Disposable diapers can be used with tabs in front, taking one corner and crossing it over around the monk so that it fastens to the opposite side of the back. Ditto with the other corner, and you have a pretty leak proof diaper.

If you have to tame a monkey, take advantage of its natural curiosity. He is afraid, but if you hold something shiny or bright colored in your hands and play with it, he usually comes to see and soon plays with your fingers, looks at your rings or watch etc. They even like to check your teeth. Don't wear glasses or earrings around a new or strange monkey.

Some monkeys can be handled by their tails, though most don't like it at first. Start by just stroking the tail, then holding it lightly, and finally it will allow you to use the tail as a handle

Find a veterinarian who will treat monkeys and who under- stands their problems or a pediatrician who will cooperate this isn't always easy. Also if possible find someone willing to care for him if some emergency should arise, or should you want or need to be away for a while. In general monkeys are not good traveling companions.

There is no firm answer to the question "which makes a better pet, male or female?" All simians are individuals, but as a rule the males of larger species become more difficult to handle. It has been said "The only good monkey is a sick monkey." No two are just alike and dogmatic statements about them just cannot be made.

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