Primate Presentation

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  • PRIMATE Husbandry and Nutrition By: Monica Morgado

  • Conservation StatusTotal # of Species254107 Endangered102 Lower Risk8 Critically Endangered6 Not enough data4 Threatened3 Rare

  • Taxonomy of Extant PrimatesKingdom = AnimaliaPhylum = ChordataClass = MammaliaOrder = PrimatesProsimians*6 FTarsiers*1 FNew WorldPrimates*2 FOld WorldPrimates*1 F*2 SFOWPLesser Apes*1 F

    OWPGreat Apes*2 F

  • Prosimians and Tarsiers

  • Prosimians and Tarsiers

    Most primitive of the primatesTheyre NOT monkeys nor apesNocturnal and sensitiveSocialized and tropicalMost are endangered

  • Where can Prosimians and Tarsiers be found?

  • New World Primates

  • New World Primates (Monkeys)

  • New World PrimatesFamily CallithricidaeSmaller tamarins and marmosetsFamily CebidaeSakisSpider and WoollyOwlCapuchinHowlerTiti and SquirrelUakaris

  • New World PrimatesLive in the neotropical forestsCentral and South America.Range vastly in size 6 inch pygmy marmoset3 feet howler monkey Long tails (sometimes prehensile) No buttock pads No cheek pouches

  • Old World Primates(OWP)

  • Old World Primates (Monkeys)

  • Old World PrimatesFamily CercopithecidaeSubfamily cercopithecinaeMacaquesBaboonsMandrillsVervet monkeysPatas monkeysSubfamily ColobinaeColobus monkeysLangursLeaf monkeys

  • Old World PrimatesLive in Africa and Asia.Larger than the New World monkeys. They are diurnal. Longer hind legs than forearms. Prominent buttock pads that they can sit on. Tails, but not prehensile.

  • OWP-Great Apes

  • OWP-Great Apes

    They have no tails.The face is almost naked. Live in complex social groups. The arms are longer than the legs.Rely mostly on vision and hearing rather than smell. OrangutansChimpanzeesGorillasHumansBonobos

  • OWP- Lesser Apes

  • OWP-Lesser ApesSmaller and more slender forms No tailGibbons live in pairs for life. Siamangs are the largest type of gibbon.


  • Nonhuman Primates as PetsMost common Pet-Primate species:Squirrel monkey Capuchin or organ grinder monkeysSpider monkeysMarmosetsBaboonsChimpanzeesOrangutans

  • Nonhuman Primates as PetsMost Common Reasons People Buy Pet Monkeys:

    "They're so cute!!"

    "I wanted an unusual pet. "They're so adorable dressed up like people!

    Child substitute

  • PermitPartial BanMust Be BandedNo RequirementsBan

  • Before getting a Nonhuman Pet Primate you mustMake sure your primate has been bred in the U.S. and not imported.Center for Disease Control of the United States Public Health Service Regulation in 1976

    Realize that monkeys are complex social/emotional animals "high-care/high-need", "difficult" pets

  • Before getting a Nonhuman Pet Primate you mustKnow that they areVirtually impossible to toilet trainCan be destructive of propertyHave a high propensity for bitingAs they mature, their behavior becomes less

  • Nonhuman Primate vs. Newborn Child

  • Nonhuman Primate vs. 2yr Old Child

  • Nonhuman Primate vs. 5yr Old Child

  • Nonhuman Primate vs. 15yr Old Kid

  • Before getting a Nonhuman Pet Primate you mustKnow that they can have different relationships with members of a family:liking the most dominant adult picking on weakest or youngest family member

    Monkeys have a life-span of 20-40 years.

  • Health Concern: Common DiseasesNonhuman primates have a high potential for carrying zoonotic diseases:HepatitisTuberculosisOwners should test their pets at least once a year.Owners should be tested once a year. ShigellosisSalmonellosisHerpes viruses

  • Herpes Simplex VirusesHerpesvirus simiae (Herpes B)Host: Macaques Rhesus monkeys may develop ulcerations in the oral mucosa.

  • Herpes Simplex VirusesHerpesvirus tamarinus (Herpes T)1ry Host: Squirrel monkeys and spider monkeysAsymptomatic Tamarins, marmosets, owl monkeys, and titi monkeysClinical diseaseMay develop ulceration in lips, oral mucosa and conjunctiva.

  • Herpesvirus tamarinusUlcerative dermatitis in a titi monkey

  • The Ideal Caretaker (patience.etc.)Patience


    Do not over estimate their force for their size.

  • Primate HousingHave the proper sized housing setups from day one.

    Should allow large motor exercise, running and leaping.

  • Primate HousingCages for display are not usually large enough.

    Cage must be setup with easy, hands-off cleaning in mind.

  • Primate HousingNot recommended:Kennel cratesCat cagesBird cages

  • Primate HousingPrimates of different species should not be housed together.Prevent disease transmissionSpecies-specific behaviorsInterspecies aggression.

  • Primate Housing

    A collar or harness should be worn continuously around the house.

    Nonhuman primates should be caged while unattended.

    Do not allow them to run loose in the home.

  • Cage AccessoriesDurable and easy-to-clean materials.

    Special housing needs depending on the primate:ArborealNocturnalRanging

  • Cage AccessoriesLighting and climate controls should be on automatic.

    18-17 C (65-80 F)55-70% HumidityMarmosets 70-80%

  • Acrylic mirror for fallen treats

    Treats out of the conespylon surprises Mop heads strung with pasta and treats knotted on the ends Toys and enrichmentdevices

  • DisinfectantsCleaning cases, dishes, and toysRoccal-DWinthrop, New York, NYOne-Stroke EnvironCeva Laboratories, Overland Park, KS

  • Nutrition for Old World and New World PrimatesNutritional deficiencies: Owners lack of knowledge

    Common protein deficiencies high level of fruits and starches

    Many owners feed table foods an not commercial biscuits or canned diets.

  • Vitamin DeficiencyVitamin CSupplements needed due to decreased levels in diet after 90 days of storage.Daily fresh fruits or monkey vitamins1-4 mg/kg of body weight every dayCauses:Swelling of long bones and hemorrhaging of the gums

  • Vitamin DeficiencyVitamin D3 (New World Monkeys)Supplements needed due to insufficient sunlight.2000 IU per kg every dayCauses:Soft bones, bone deformities and multiple fractures.

  • How much should I feed my primate?Consumption of adults:3% to 5% of their body weight DAILYWaste a lot of foodGreater quantity should be offered.Offer meals 2-3 times a day instead of once daily.

  • How about treats?Commercial food80% to 90% of daily intake

    TreatsFresh fruitsVegetablesCommercial treats

    New World monkeysMealwormsCricketsCanned dog foodHard broiled eggs

  • Water and Fruit JuicesWaterFresh and cleanAvailable at all timesSipper-tube or valved water system.

    Fruit juicesOffered occasionally as a treat.



    Check with your state and county for local laws.

    Have the right cage size for your primate.

    Feed the right diet depending on the species requirements.

  • ReferencesHorne, William A. Primate Anesthesia. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. 2001;4(1): 239-66.