Should You Buy A Monkey?

Like so many of us, Stewart at My Family’s Money has always wanted to own a monkey. His reasoning is sound: “They are ridiculously awesome and having one as a pet would be even more awesome.” Stewart decided it would be a good idea to estimate the total lifetime cost of owning a monkey. We think he’s playing a little fast and loose with the numbers, but then again where do you go to get hard stats on monkey ownership? Not from our lazy Census takers, that’s for sure.

Stewart is a realist: he admits that there are definitely some high costs associated with monkey ownership. But he also considers the fact that a monkey can be an investment if properly trained. You know, to ride dogs and stuff:

Your monkey will need pants.The only reason you have a monkey as a pet is to train it to do cool things. These cool things can also earn you money, if you know how to crack the competitive birthday party/rodeo market. Lets assume that my monkey isn’t smart enough to be a public spectacle until he is 5 years old and I put him out to stud for the last two years of his life. That leaves me about 10 years of use out of the monkey.

We think Stewart’s post is “ridiculously awesome,” but we also love the humorless commenter on his site who reminds us all that “Monkeys are not pets”:

Just last week a little boy here was bitten to the bone and seriously injured by his family’s “pet” lemur.

Whatever. That lemur was probably just angry he didn’t have chaps and a tiny dwarf border collie to ride.

“Pet Monkeys – The Financial Considerations” [My Family’s Money]

(Photos: monkey riding dog: I Fought the Law; monkey pants: scottobear)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Adam Hyland says:

    ZOMG. where did that monkey riding the dog picture come from? That’s practically good enough to buy a monkey right now.

  2. Galls says:

    Get two!

    One to name oompa and the other to name loompa.

  3. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    Monkey Rodeo… Next big thing. Move over squirrel on water skis your 15 minutes are up.

  4. dondiego87 says:

    Just don’t teach it tae kwon do.

  5. bohemian says:

    @Adam Hyland: Don’t know but they are in all the Taco John’s commercials out here.

    + Watch video

  6. humphrmi says:

    What’s so wrong about pet monkeys? Are weasels appropriate pets? When I was a teenager, everyone had a ferret. Ferret is a cool name for a polecat, in the weasel family. They were domesticated for hunting but now most countries have outlawed keeping them domestically because feral genetically domesticated ferrets were blamed for eating most of the plants in New Zealand at one time. I am not making this up.

    So a monkey bites your kid to the bone. Feh, the kid probably taunted him about the chaps. At least a monkey didn’t eat all the plants in New Zealand.

  7. Chris Walters says:

    @bohemian: If a monkey sped past me and then I saw that he had placed a burrito in my hand, I would probably not eat that burrito.

  8. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Many localities and even some US States make it illegal to own a primate.

  9. godawgs7 says:

    sweet jeebus!! i have talked about this so much recently. We just got a puppy and the ONE and only thing i want to do now is to get a monkey. Everyone asks me why. It’s obvious: you teach the monkey how to take care of the dog and the stupid goldfish we have. It’s like a self-sustaining pet ecosystem.

    and here is Whiplash the monkey:

    + Watch video

  10. bohemian says:

    I really wish people would quit getting some of the non-domesticated animals as pets. It may sound cool to get a panther or a bear until your sued into oblivion when it gets out and mauls someone. Or eats you.
    Monkeys are not real docile. More like your crazy friend on crack and tequila.

  11. tamushrek says:

    Saw that monkey in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and he was definately the best part of the whole thing. Either way I would LOVE to have a monkey myself :) for anyone who is interested.

  12. forgottenpassword says:

    The only reason why I would have a monkey is so I could train it to be a jewelthief. Tht’s about the only way it could pay for itself in any worthwhile fashion. A monkey would be a serious pain in the ass to have as a pet. And I used to have a raccoon as a pet growing up.

  13. stpauliegirl says:

    @Adam Hyland: That’s Whiplash, monkey cowboy and star of many Taco John’s commercials. Clearly, I watch too much TV and eat too many fast-food tacos.


  14. johnarlington says:

    Pray for MoJo

  15. Buran says:

    If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a monkey.
    Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?

  16. kittenfoo says:

    i had a lesbian aunt who got a monkey and taught it to bite males. it was awesome!

  17. ColdBloodedBMC says:

    I have ALWAYS wanted a monkey. Scratch that, I’ve always wanted a Master Criminal Monkey.

  18. CuriousO says:

    How do I get one? How much?

  19. ColdBloodedBMC says:

    Here’s another reason for a monkey “Only a monkey can show you that kind of love”:


  20. godawgs7 says:

    BTW, my grandmother was bitten by a monkey years ago. You may ask, “what 3rd world country was your grandmother in?” and i would respond, “North Carolina.”
    Her neighbor had a monkey that LOVED giving hugs. So one day my grandmother heads over to the neighbor’s house and the monkey jumps on her arm hugging it. My grandmother freaks and tries to shake the monkey off, at which point it sinks his teeth into her arm.

    The doctor thought she was insane when she called to find out how to treat a monkey bite.

  21. humphrmi says:

    @bohemian: Yet more people probably have friends on crack and tequila than have monkeys.

  22. El Daveo says:

    I don’t know who wrote this, but I always keep a copy with me

    I like monkeys.
    The pet store was selling them for 5 cents a piece. I thought that odd since they were normally a couple thousand. I decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I bought 200. I like monkeys.

    I took my 200 monkeys home. I have a big car. I let one drive. His name was Sigmund. He was retarded. In fact, none of them were really bright. They kept smacking themselves in the face. I laughed. Then they smacked my face. I stopped laughing.

    I herded them into my room. They didn’t adapt very well to their new environment. They would screech, hurl themselves off of the couch at high speeds and slam into the wall – although humorous at first, the spectacle lost its novelty halfway into its third hour.

    Two hours later I found out why all the monkeys were so inexpensive: they all died. No apparent reason. They all just sorta dropped dead. Kinda like when you buy a goldfish and it dies five hours later. Stupid cheap monkeys.

    I didn’t know what to do. There were 200 dead monkeys lying all over my room, on the bed, in the dresser, hanging from my bookcase. It looked like I had 200 throw rugs.

    I tried to flush one down the toilet. It didn’t work. It got stuck. Then I had one dead, wet monkey and 199 dead, dry monkeys.

    I tried pretending they were just stuffed animals. That worked for a while, that is until they began to decompose. It started to smell real bad.
    I had to use the restroom, but there was a dead monkey in the toilet and I didn’t want to call the plumber. I was embarrassed.

    I tried to slow down the decomposition by freezing them. Unfortunately, there was only enough room for two monkeys at a time so I had to change them every 30 seconds. I also had to eat all the food in the freezer so it didn’t all go bad.

    I tried burning them. Little did I know my bed was flammable. I had to extinguish the fire. Then I had one dead, wet monkey in my toilet, two dead, frozen monkeys in my freezer, and 197 dead, charred monkeys in a pile on my bed. The odor wasn’t improving.
    I became agitated at my inability to dispose of my monkeys and to use the bathroom. I severely beat one of my monkeys. I felt better.

    I tried throwing them away but the garbage man said that the city is not allowed to dispose of charred primates. I told him that I had a wet one. He couldn’t take that one either. I didn’t bother asking about the frozen ones.

    I finally arrived at a solution. I gave them out as Christmas gifts. My friends didn’t know quite what to say. They pretended that they liked them but I could tell they were lying. Ingrates. So, I smacked them in the face.

    I like monkeys.

  23. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @dondiego87: Nice Grandma’s Boy reference =)

    I would love a monkey. I would teach it to steal stuff. It could be very lucrative and pay for itself in about a year.

  24. BadBadKitty says:

    We had a spider monkey , and while they are awesomely fun to have , they have quirks that are embarrassing to say the least , mine had a crush on my sister in law and would “give it a tug” everytime he seen her ,but she was forever eating sunflower seeds so maybe he thought she was compatible .
    Kept it for 2 years, but in the end decided we just didnt have the time to train him, and diapers get expensive !

  25. MercuryPDX says:

    A friend of mine did housecleaning for a guy who owned a squirrel monkey. He kept it confined to one large double room in the house that had a degree of rankness depending on how clean the cage was. The diaper was cute, but she quit when the monkey realized it doubled as a handy place to store poo to throw at her when she ran the vacuum. She said it’s messier than her three children.

    An ex-coworker of mine also bought a (Capuchin?) “helper” monkey. It cost $25K just to train it to interact with colored dots around the house to make it do a variety of tasks.

    Isn’t that quite a bit of cash for a “novelty” that will wear off at some point during the 30+ years you’ll be owning it?

  26. cronick says:

    “The only reason you have a monkey as a pet is to train it to do cool things.”

    So, living things exist only for your amusement?

    Well then… when We, the Alien Overlords, take over the Earth, I think I will buy you and teach you to do funny tricks.

  27. humphrmi says:

    @cronick: And we’ll throw our poo at you.

  28. cronick says:

    @humphrmi: And, how’s that any different than now?

  29. Canerican says:

    @cronick: There are no Alien Overlords.

    Dance Monkey Dance!

  30. timsgm1418 says:

    but not a real monkey, that’s cruel@Buran:

  31. Dashrashi says:

    @Buran: I got my picture taken with a monkey on the beach and now I desperately want one. They are so cool! They have fingernails instead of claws!

    @godawgs7: She probably should’ve just hugged the monkey back. When it comes to pet monkeys, damn skippy I blame the victim. That’s how we roll here in the comment threads at the Consumerist.

  32. Hoss says:

    I’d train mine to respond to receipt check protest blogging

  33. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Monkeys are great until they start throwing shit or jacking off all over the place.

  34. Parting says:

    isn’t it illegal to own some monkey species? Since they are protected as endangered species.

  35. B says:

    I can’t wait to eat that monkey.

  36. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @cronick: So, living things exist only for your amusement?

    Yes, exactly!

    when We, the Alien Overlords, take over the Earth, I think I will buy you and teach you to do funny tricks.

    I, for one, welcome our new Alien overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

  37. sickofthis says:

    @Chris Walters: You’d at least want to make sure he wasn’t holding the burrito in his poo-flinging hand.

  38. spinachdip says:

    @bohemian: Sounds like someone who has never had a glass of mojito mixed by a monkey butler.

  39. TheUncleBob says:

    You could have written this article a lot quicker and better, had you simply followed the headline with a “Yes.”

  40. Manok says:

    I just left Manila last week and when I was at the pet market (I bought a purebreed Seal Point Siamese for 50 bucks!!) they had a couple monkeys for 90 dollars US and a mongoose for 85 USD.

  41. queenofdenial says:

    My Friend Ross had a pet monkey, but he had to give it to a zoo cuz it got mean. Then it starred in a movie!

  42. cronick says:


    Yes. You will all make a fine monkey-slaves. I think I will replace your sculls with clear acrylic domes so I can see what you are thinking.

    Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!

  43. BugMeNot2 says:


    Now there’s a naught little monkey that needed spanked.

  44. BugMeNot2 says:

    Just so long as you leave our skulls alone.

  45. FangDoc says:

    @humphrmi: Actually, the wild ferrets were deliberately introduced to New Zealand to help control the rabbit population, another non-native species introduced by short-sighted Europeans. However, the ferrets weren’t content to just eat rabbits and also started decimating the bird and small rodent populations. This is an argument that’s used to keep the California ferret ban in places, even though it doesn’t apply (domesticated ferrets, Mustela putoris furo, are a different species and are as likely to be prey as predators in the American ecosystem).

    They are obligate carnivores and would have no effect on the plants. And far from “most countries” banning ferret ownership, they are common pets throughout the EU, Japan, Brazil, etc. Australia and NZ are really the only exceptions where they are out and out banned.

    Why I had to post this: []

  46. Chris Walters says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: Same with boyfriends.

  47. His reasoning is sound: “They are ridiculously awesome and having one as a pet would be even more awesome.”

    Stuart is a retard who is not ready for the responsibility of pet ownership, much less exotic animal ownership. No, that’s an insult to the developmentally challenged. Stuart makes them look like Einstein.

    I am sure the comment about his reasoning being sound is snarky, but in case it isn’t, you’re are retarded as he is.

    I wouldn’t trust Stuart to take care of a sea monkey, never mind a living, breathing, scratching, masturbating, biting and shit throwing monkey. Owning an animal because it would be awesome is a sure sign that you are not ready for the responsibility. If you adopt animals that you are not ready to take care of, you are effectively being cruel to the animal. There’s no room for that.

    Stuart should do what everyone in his tribe who wants a monkey to f with does. Find a woman and make kids. Same thing.

  48. eabu says:

    you can watch the day to day life of a monkey, live


  49. theblackdog says:

    I saw Whiplash the Rodeo Monkey years ago, it was cute.

  50. AndyMan1 says:

    @El Daveo: You, sir, have made my night. Thank you.

  51. ninabi says:

    The one reason not to get a monkey:

    Herpes B.


  52. missjulied says:

    Yeah, my husband was obsessed with getting a pet monkey for a while. Information like this dissuaded him:


  53. yesteryear says:

    best article ever on consumerist. ever.

  54. hapless says:

    @cronick: Yes. It is a fact that living things exist in my home only for my amusement. Why else would I permit their continued existence?

  55. MrEvil says:

    yeah, any animal that finds flinging its own shit at passersby is hysterical is NOT a pet. It’s a menace.

    Dogs can do alot of things primates can’t such as respond to human gestures and even pick up on human eye movements. Not to mention the fact that canids (dogs, foxes, wolves, coyotes) have been shown to be rediculously easy to domesticate. And if you put a piece of rope around your fridge handle you can train your dog to fetch you a beer…longnecks only though. Then there’s undying loyalty that pet monkeys just don’t have.

  56. marsneedsrabbits says:

    My ex husband had two monkeys years and years ago.
    They make horrible pets.
    The Perils of Keeping Monkeys as Pets
    They are dirty and needy and once they grow into adulthood, they are no longer cute, really violent, and nasty.

  57. caj11 says:

    Jim Jones, the minister who founded the Peoples Temple church/cult where he easily convinced all his members to move to Guyana and then drink some poisoned juice where some 900 people died, sold pet monkeys door-to-door to raise the startup funds for the church. So, monkeys can serve a useful purpose.

  58. loueloui says:

    This could totally be an investment. All you would need is a street organ, and a funny little costume complete with a cap.

  59. How about a monkey riding a little bike?

    This was from an amusement park in Vietnam. The monkeys were ridiculously awesome. The trainers were not.

  60. ZekeDMS says:

    Alas, primates are violent and psychotic, generally. Everything but gorillas(of some sorts anyway) and bonobos, it seems. Why, why must our ancestors be just like us? :(

  61. spinachdip says:

    Are people really missing the point of the post?

    The question isn’t whether monkeys make good pets or not (the answer is no, they make GREAT pets, bartenders, babysitters whateverthefuck you want them to be). No, point of this post, and the original post, is that too many people focus on the price tag, and not on the total cost of ownership and the true value of the purchase.

    Replace “monkey” with “automobile” or “laptop computer” or “desert island”, and maybe you’ll understand why a post about monkey ownership is posted at a personal finance blog and linked by a consumer blog.


  62. shoegazer says:

    @TinyBug: Did he say Overlords? He meant protectors.

  63. shoegazer says:

    @spinachdip: I replaced monkey with desert island, now see what happened!

    + Watch video

  64. past says:

    This isn’t funny, this isn’t cool. Monkeys are wild animals that belong in the wild.

  65. tcolberg says:

    I’m waiting for the brand-new mini-pig: []

    The Consumerist needs to do a review of those guys! Please?

  66. MrWashy says:

    Am I the only one who sees a resemblance, including the faux cowboy wear, to our illustrious Prez? Can’t you just see the thought bubble about the little guy’s head “Mission accomplished.. yee haw!”

  67. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @humphrmi: Weasels might not make good pets but apparently they make good presidents!! (rim shot)

  68. freshyill says:

    Whatev. The border collie is the brains of this operation, anyhow. Buy a border collie. It’s the dog that will make you feel stupid.

  69. zibby says:

    I know a lot of people think they are special or different and will take this as more of a challenge than anything, but damn, do not keep a monkey as a pet. My friend’s sister had one and the thing crapped everywhere, spread crap everywhere, stunk, broke everything it could get its claws on and generally made life hell in that house. You’ll hate the thing within a week.

  70. bluewyvern says:

    Me 30 seconds ago: Consumerist has a “BIRTHDAY PARTIES” category? Awesome!

    Me 28 seconds ago: Doh!

  71. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @shoegazer: Did he say Overlords? He meant protectors.

    Hah. Excellent.

    It pleases me that Coultons music is getting more popular

  72. monkey33 says:

    Funny, a few weeks ago I put in a request for time off at work. Since there’s no one else to cover my position while I’m gone, I put in “well trained monkeys”. My boss wanted the cost analysis of that. I cost more than well trained spider monkeys, but less than a chimp.

  73. arby says:

    @freshyill: Border collies are too smart for most people to have as pets. They were bred to work, and they get bored very easily if they don’t have a job to do. Bored smart dog = trouble. (For more, see [])

    I tried to stifle myself, but I have to say it: Lemurs and chimpanzees are not monkeys. (Lemurs are prosimians, and chimps are apes.) None of them make good pets.

  74. orielbean says:

    We’ll make great pets.

  75. topgun says:

    I’ll date myself. I had a pet monkey as a kid. After all Gov. George Wallace had one according to the ad in the comic book that I bought one from. It had to be shipped by truck. I guess the truck driver couldn’t believe what he was delivering. God my parents indulged me. Now I have children. The monkey was less trouble.

  76. ekthesy says:

    Consumerist: Monkeys Bite Back

  77. 3ZKL says:

  78. magnus150 says:

    I only want a monkey because then I could smoke a pipe with it and look smart.

    Bitches love monkeys.

  79. BugMeNot2 says:


    “yeah, any animal that finds flinging its own shit at passersby is…a menace.”

    I am _not_ a menace. Just easily entertained.

  80. MissTic says:

    A pet monkey is like having a toddler for 30 or 40 years. Lots to consider before buying one!

  81. Trai_Dep says:

    If I had a pet monkey, I’d pin an American flag on its chest then train it to post pro-Corporation comments on The Consumerist blog. It’d be a slight improvement of what we get now…

  82. Trai_Dep says:

    @ninabi: “The one reason not to get a monkey: Herpes B. Nasty.”

    My gawd. Exactly what do you plan on using your monkey for?!

  83. btdown says:

    @magnus150: rock on man..Im with you on this one

  84. royal72 says:

    save a monkey, adopt a retard.

  85. rhombopteryx says:

    1) Do you eaven have to ask? Yes, you should.
    2) Don’t fear the lemur horror stories, lemurs aren’t monkeys. They are evil 2nd cousins.
    3) Make sure the Monkey you buy isn’t mispelled or mislabelled. If it has 2 “e”s in its name, or responds to ‘Davy Jones,’ or ‘Mickey Dolenz’, make sure its the one you want. These may be able to play the little street organ better than most, but may also try to sing.

  86. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a monkey. Haven’t you always wanted a monkey???

  87. Tankueray says:

    @arby: Try having a border collie and a blue heeler. They herd the cat. My border collie is pretty low maintenance. He has a bowl that he chases around the yard and the blue heeler wants to play all the time, but he would rather lay in the sun than do any real work. Took him across the street to play with the cows one day, nothing. Took him to a pet fair with a bunch of kids doing tae kwon do demonstrations and he wanted to herd the kids! So at least I know I’ll have a good babysitter… Sometimes the parrot rides on his back like the monkey, but she can talk. Take that monkey! But my friend and her husband saw that monkey at a conference in DFW, they said he was awesome. The border collie ran under a trailer and tried to decapitate the monkey. Seriously though, pet ownership is a big deal. I’ve had my parrot for 21 years and she screams at 120 decibels for hours on end. I spend $400 a month on dog and cat food because some people decided to dump their animals at my house. It pisses me off to no end that people can’t take responsibility and spay and neuter their pets, or take care of them once they grow up. I volunteer at the shelter and I’ve seen litters of purebreds and herding dogs because people can’t take the time to train them properly and they tear everything up. When you go to the petstore (shame! you should be going to a shelter) you’re making a committment for 5-70 years, make sure your mature and financially well off enough to handle it.

  88. Tankueray says:

    Come on comment, show up already.

  89. Rode2008 says:

    I am an athlete in the UUFC (Underground Ultimate Fighting Championship) . I have little experience with monkeys, however, I regularly engage in steel-cage gorilla death matches. Two “Warriors” walk into the steel-cage – only one comes out…..

    My prowess in fighting gorillas might make me a person who could easily train a pet monkey.

  90. Schizohedron says:

    @Trai_Dep: Evidently it has something to do with some guy named Herpes B. Nasty.