Raising a pet monkey

pet monkeyPhilippine monkey as a pet

Chunky Monkey – I was given a small female monkey from the mountains of the interior of Leyte that we are planning on raising as a pet. Her name is Moi but I thought Chunky Monkey sounded good, so that’s her Kano name.

The mountains in Leyte where this long-tailed macaque is from.

the mountains of Leyte where we liveThe beautiful back country in Leyte – geo-thermal power plants in the distance..

having a monkey as a pet in the Philippines

I estimate the monkey’s age to be 7 months. She was very attached to one of the pineapple farm workers that was caring for her for 5 months, but he decided that he could not keep her any more.

Beautiful back country of LeyteUp in the mountains.

pet monkeyWe keep a chain around the monkeys waist connected to a slider on a rail below the ceiling.

young female monkey as a pet in the philippinesYou will often see monkeys kept as pets, on your travels in the Philippines. Some are aggressive and others are very mellow.

This one is good with adult men and kids. It took about 3 days for her to get used to me so I am not going to force the friendship. She has a sweet personality and it will likely just take time.

Chunk likes to splash and wash her food in the water bowl and then dump the water out and give the dish a toss.

pet monkey eating pineapple

Pineapples are a favorite but bananas are ignored.

Pineapple fieldsOrmoc Farms

docile monkey

The local kids found out that she like lolipops but I decided to put an end to that because it will tear up her teeth over time.

pet monkeyKids have more fun with Chunky as she reaches down to grab their hair. Monkeys seem to thrive on attention and this one gets plenty.

pet monkey

One week later – I am noticing that this monkey, a female, is getting a bit aggressive towards women but now has accepted me as a trusted friend.

boy with monkey

I have no problem holding her and she likes to run up my arm and make false charges at any female that happens by.

Ronel with pet monkey

I think that the monkey is just playing but she did grab one of the older girls hair and wouldn’t let go for 10 seconds – same kid that stole her bananas.

pet monkey

One thing interesting to me is that the monkeys seem to communicate a lot with facial expressions. This one also seems to remember every person that comes by and treats them differently depending upon their prior interactions.

pet monkey

I do question the wisdom of keeping a wild animal as a pet but we will see how this works out. I put up a small house on the edge of town near a large stand of bamboo and plan to transfer the monkey back there in a couple of weeks.

friendly pet monkey

She gets a lot of company so at least she won’t get bored like the monkeys kept in small cages in someone’s backyard sometimes do. Maybe some of them become biters just out of frustration.

pet monkey

Just keeping one of these animals in a cage would probably drive the poor thing mad. I suspect that most people do not have the time to keep one of these critters but we have so many neighborhood kids coming by that the monkey is entertained as much as they are. The monkey also has a long run just under the roof so it can get away when it chooses to.

pet monkey

I plan to cut a 10 meter bamboo pole that will lead from the back door to a stand of live bamboo. That way she can come and go more freely. I am noticing that this monkey likes to chew up plastic dishes, rope, and anything else in reach. An unused bakers oven is within reach and Chunky periodically open all the oven doors – just for something to do.

pet philippine monkey

My feeling is that having a monkey as a pet is probably not a good idea for most people – especially in western countries. These monkeys have endless energy and love constant attention.

Roly with monkeyRoly with the monkey.

long-tailed macaque

The novelty of having a pet monkey will soon wear off and the owner will weary of cleaning up a constant mess. The monkeys seem to like to throw food all over the place too. There is also a liability issue if your monkey starts biting. I feel pretty good about ours, but I don’t know what she would do if she felt threatened.

philippine monkey

These monkeys live in troops – social groups – in the wild so likely a captive monkey would not do well if you tried to reintroduce it into the wild at a later time.

monkey eating apple

Deep in the mountains where we keep this one there are plenty of people willing to help out and I think that it’s going to work out ok. I will try to keep posting the pluses and minuses of having a monkey as a pet.

monkey for a pet

My feeling is that in most cases it simply is not wise. I met some circus people that have Capuchin monkeys that are used to generate income at state fairs. Their monkeys have had all their teeth removed to comply with insurance regulations.

having a pet monkey

Our monkey is adjusting well to all the people stopping by the store and now jumps onto my arm when I am near.  She is very affectionate and really fun to have around and  likes to nibble on your fingers but it seems like a greeting more than aggressive behavior.

monkey biting thumb

I even put my fingers in the monkeys mouth and check her teeth and just see what happens. She just tries to push your finger out with her tongue.

handling a pet monkey

This monkey does not have big canine teeth like some monkeys  do but she did nip one of the older women that was pulling her tail. It did break the skin but the monkey just doesn’t want people jerking on it’s tail – fair enough.

Ian with monkey

The monkey got away from me yesterday when I was changing the rope on it’s lead. These little guys are very strong and it got into the little sari sari store and started tearing the place up

monkey with water bowl

My girl tending the store ran out screaming claiming the monkey was trying to bite here but it looked to me like the monkey was just freaking out because of all the screaming.

sari sari

I landed up taking the monkey down to the place we are building just to see how it would react to different surroundings. She became very clingy and was not at ease and it was quite annoying for me to try to get anything done.

cute monkey

Later that night we found out that this monkey is mad about mashed potatoes!

monkey eating cucumberMonkey with cucumber slice.

pet monkey - Chunky MonkeyChunky Monkey escapes! Chunks slipped off the chain and took off but didn’t want to leave familiar territory. Fortunately Roly was home and the monkey came down to him after being offered some junk food.

This leads me to what diet a monkey should be on. Chunks loves junk food and gets plenty of it – even though I tell the kids not to feed the junk to her. The monkey also loves soft drinks and then gets hyper and just runs and jump all over the place.

pet monkey getting aggressive

My feeling is that this stuff is very bad for her because even her personality changes after eating a handful of this junk.

pet monkey with kidThis monkey gets a constant barrage of kids coming by to play. If she gets sick of it she  can climb to the ceiling and be out of reach.

monkey grooming kids hairIt’s a good idea to refill the water dish every few hours because the monkeys seem to enjoy splashing in the water and then dumping the water on the floor.

pet monkey with water bowlMonkey drinking water.

philippine monkey drinking waterThe water bowl will remain upright a maximum of 5 minutes.

monkey with water bowl

Here one of the neighbor kids shows of a bat that he caught – dp advice is to never handle bats – ever – they are a rabies carrier.

kid with local bat he caught

My believe  that having a monkey as a pet is a bad idea. You may ask why did I go ahead and get one? The local farmer asked if we wanted his monkey and I was against the idea even though it was cute as a button.

pet monkey named Chunky or Moi

The pineapple worker mentioned that he was going to bring the monkey down to the city and sell it there. The monkey would have a miserable life in the city so I relented and we gave the farmer 1000 pesos for the little guy (around 24 usd). There are so many kids in this town that they are able to keep this monkey amused for hours.

hair pulling monkeySwinging monkey.

philippine monkey with kids

One person does not have enough energy to keep a monkey entertained – these animals are highly intelligent and inquisitive and will get into anything within their reach. They just love to tear stuff up. It would take an enormous amount of patience to raise a monkey in a typical western home.

pet monkey with child

I advise strongly against even entertaining the thought! We live right on the edge of the jungle so at least it is an environment the monkey is used to, but it is a challenge for us as well.

pet monkey

Some of the local kids are aggressive to each other and also to the monkey, so I don’t know how that is going to work out. This female monkey defiantly prefers to be around men and takes a hostile stance when some women come by.

monkey eating orange slice

I watch the monkey at night rather than tv and made a few observations. The vocal range of these animals is phenomenal.  They have incredible personalities – the kids even know when Chunks wants food, to be left alone, or is getting hostile and ready to pull their hair.

monkey eating

This monkey bounces up and down when trying to be aggressive, make high pitch sounds if you are eating a food that they really like – (apples – manga), ansd a completely different set of sounds if a person that they really like is walking past.

cute pet monkey

Thanks for any tips or information you can give me :) I am going to try to periodically update this page so you can see how things are going.

Raising a monkey as a pet

Monkey from Palawan

Palawan monkeyMonkey from Sabang Palawan

Sabang monkeyMonkey at Sabang resort

Philippine monkeyPhilippine Monkey


dutchpickle logo

Palawan Monkey

related story Phalanger orientalis (timor cuscus)


Moi Moi

Moi Moi

Moi Moi eating a slice of cucumber



Picture from back porcht behind my place at sunset in the hills  …something peaceful about being up there!

Dec 6, 2010 www.dutchpickle.com

31 responses to “Raising a pet monkey”

  1. hi dp, brilliant mate. so we have a third for drinking at the jungle bar hehehe. o sorry u gone tea total now mate. well done. love the monkey. it looks like the same breed as johns who lives at billyboy up the road towards the cococola plant. she looks a beauty. i told melody that she already has a monkey ( me) she agreed. see u in few weeks, cant wait to get home. this cold weather is killing me.
    keep up the great stories mate

  2. wow, the monkey is very cute…
    soon my monkey will be home also hehehe…

    best wishes!

  3. Wow DP you never fail to amaze me, always something new….

    have had no good connection for some time so unable to log in. I am sure as hell looking forward to seeing this little fellow, maybe he would be happier running about in a large run and cage rather than be tied around the waist.

    Problem is if he is domesticated to long he will never make it ourside, guess you must decide soon what you do with her.

    We will catch up soon, until then relax and stop spending all that money.

  4. Hey DP, I’ve really enjoyed reading your site for the last couple of hours. I am cano but I was born and lived in the PI for 18 years, mostly Cotobato Province (Midsayap). I’d love to go back to visit but haven’t gotten closer than Davao.
    Anyway, we raised a number of monkeys through the years. They do tend to get attached to one person as they age, and everyone we had started biting and getting mean at about two. At that point we didn’t get to play with them as much, and when they escaped they sure could cause a lot of damage. When my sister’s monkey chewed up all the wires to the generator she became supper when nobody could catch her. My poor sister never knew what she ate that night until later in life. My favorite monkey literally fell out of a tree dead of fright when they chased it trying to catch it while I was away.
    We also learned not to keep the monkeys close to other animals. They’d pull baby chicks, rabbits, and anything they could get their hands on right through chicken coop wire. (I was raised on an experimental farm for a local college.) Do be careful of feeding them any fruit that might have even a little pesticide on it because that kills them. They sure are fun though and so intelligent.
    Do you know of anyone who rents a car in Cebu that can be taken to Leyte or any contacts fro a rental vehicle in Palawan? I live in the US but my family is in Bicol. I have a surplus van there that my other half wrecked last week coming back from church. Her learner’s permit was up so it cost her P1500 to the police and P2000 for trike damage to get the van home. I get to see the damage when I arrive next week, but it sounds like I won’t have a vehicle this month to travel with. I want to go to Port Barton, Cebu, and posssibly back to Leyte. I do have a PI license.
    Have you heard of a resort called Coconut Island off of Port Barton? I’ve tried to get there several times but storms and closed roads have kept me back. Coco Loco Island off the coast north of PP is a real simple and nice alternative to Sabang when the roads are bad. They also have great food. Stay in the old simply cottages to the left I there’s any amount of wind, because it really howls out there.

  5. i saw a show on t.v. about monkey owners, most were women filling their maternal needs. here in the u.s. they solve the monkey biting problems by having teeth taken out.

  6. Please find a way to reintroduce the monkey to the wild, or get her a monkey friend. It is so cruel to keep a solitary monkey, and lead to mental illness (and possibly violent behavior to humans, check the web for reports). Please also give her a more natural environment to play in, at the very least, some trees, an enclosure with green things, though it breaks my heart to think of her living alone at any rate, under any circumstances.
    If you start to think of how much dna we have in common with “lower level” primates, you may begin to understand how clannish monkeys are and how depriving them of touch, and the company of others like them, does damage and is cruelty.
    Please have a heart, make a better life for this monkey.

  7. Amazing! I am planning to have a pet monkey soon. Thanks for sharing your observations and thoughts. How is she doing now?

  8. Hey dp,
    i might be in a similar situation like you,
    i bought a little baby monkey 2 weeks ago by a farmer in port barton. his mother died in a barb wire fence and the little monkey still clinged to his mother and was taked away from her. so i was asked if i wanted to buy this monkey for 700 peso. I didn’t think long about it, I always wanted a monkey, and fathered him happily. He’s really attached to my person and i can’t really go anywhere without him, he would always cling to me or another person, so we even decided that we don’t need a leash. Everything’s fine until a few days ago I met a ranger, who told me it’s illegal to raise a monkey and who wanted to take him away from me to put him in a santuary and release him into the wild later.
    I refused. I won’t give my monkey away so easily. He’s having a good life with us and I can’t just give him away. So, I’ve been searching the web the last days if it’s legal to keep a pet monkey and if I need a license for him or not. I know many people here have pet monkeys, but that ranger keeps me worried. I’m just wondering if you know anything about the legal situation of keeping a pet monkey.


  9. hi!

    i too have a pet monkey with me for about 5 years now. her name is trixia. we have the same observations. girl monkey tend to hate women woth long hair and probably if she thinks beautier than she is.

    she also hates being bullied.

    but right now, im experimenting some ways how to discipline her.

    i’m teaching her not to get food that is not given to her even if the food is right in front of her.
    i’m teaching her not to leave the place where i put her.
    i’m teaching her not to touch anything that does not belong to her so i can leave her in my room unattended.
    i am still at the early stage of training. i hope it works.

  10. Hey dp,
    update about my monkey situation:
    after almost endless emailing and telephoning with the PCSD I finally managed to get my monkey registered which they said, is sort of an exception.
    At least, it’s not illegal now and nobody is able to take him away now.
    I asked other people who own a monkey if they registered, but nobody else did which seems to be normal.
    However, I need to travel around by times and need to take him along with me, and I don’t want to go through all this again and paying these 350 pesos for the registration just seemed fair enough.
    About his behaviour: he is definitely growing up now and so makulit by times, especially likes to throw things on the floor, so it’s good to keep anything breakable out of his reach.

    About his hygiene: he is wearing a sanitary napkin which suits him perfectly as a diaper, washing him and changing his diaper though is still something he doesn’t really like, but who does? using warm water though is much better than cold.
    also, he likes men much more than women, in the beginning he is almost always scared of women, but attracted to men, maybe he’s bakla, but once he’s used to the woman, it’s better, but still rather prefers the company of a man in a scary situation, e. g. a dog.

    About other monkeys: I think he is scared of other monkeys. There is another monkey in town, but he didn’t want to get close to him, also I heard that because he is so domesticized now, other monkeys would kill him. And yes, he is definitely spoiled now, having a good life, I don’t know if he would survive in the jungle now, that’s why I also really need to keep him.
    All in all, it’s not easy by times to keep him, he’s like a little baby who can climb up everywhere and throw down everything, but on the other side, he is extremely funny, especially in his facial expressions and needs and gives so much love, that he is definitely a family member.
    Everything is different, when you have a monkey :)


  11. thanks DP for this site…. i have a pet monkey too, that’s why i found your site. i also want to register my pet monkey. i want to ask philipp if where and how did he registered his pet monkey. hope he can reply… thank you!

  12. by the way i’m from Iloilo City.

  13. Hi,
    I’m the lucky guardian of two longtails. I’ve been trying to find a vet to do herpes B testing for me, but nobody here seems to want to bother with it. Any suggestions? Certification and rabies was easy, but everyone seems a bit bobo with regards to the herpes B.

  14. Hi Philipp,

    our pet monkey, we named him KIKO, who is very sweet, has the very same situation and character from yours. Im so much interested on how you registered your pet. Because i would also like to legalized our Kiko. We live now in the City. Kiko, by the way is already 1yr and 7mos. and just a week ago, he bit a 10 year old boy in the province who bullied him (Kiko has been in the care of my daughter’s boyfriend in Bataan for 2months now) and the carer was forced to pay for the 3 “anti-rabbies shot” which amounted to 1800pesos each shot.

    Our Kiko hates that he’s being bullied, who wants to be by the way? so, please share me the procedure of registering our Kiko.

    Thanks in advance.


  15. i just bought a monkey last saturday and it bonded with my mom cant carry it or hug it its just keeps on biting me when i try to carry it. she is a female 1 yr old and seems i dont know what to do with it can it ever be good to me

  16. Your ignorance is really discouraging! I cannot believe people would even consider having pet monkeys. I study primates in the wild and I know that they are social creatures, like humans, and they need to be in groups with others of their own species. How would you like being raised in a group of gorillas tied to a chain? Your monkey’s mother was probably killed for bushmeat before the baby was torn of its mother’s dead body and sold to you.

    With humans, nonhuman primates often turn violent (people get their faces bitten off with no prior warning) and they get very depressed in captivity. Your monkey would have a happier life in a sanctuary. There is no use returning him/her to the wild because it probably doesn’t know how to behave with others of its own kind.

    Good luck. I am very sad for the monkey and wish him/her the least amount of emotional distress and its life.

  17. is there any way that you can send me a macaque monkey to me here in Canada I have no money but ill look after her ill take your monkey in the video or can you send me a baby monkey please call me as well here is my number 1 613 — —- my cell is 1 613 — —- ill really be nice to the monkey you send me you will have to pay for the shipping and delivery right to my front door ok please please I really need a baby monkey a macaque or squirrel or capuchin or a black cap or a white face or black face ok I have room for 10 monkeys in my large house so ill take three or more like three female and one male baby monkey ill take baby monkeys that can make there own baby monkeys later in there life ok thank you

  18. please get back to me ok

  19. Hi dear. Thank you for sharing ur baby monkey with us. What is the latest news about her now?

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