How to raise a baby capuchin monkey

Updated November 21, 2016

Capuchin monkeys may be cute and small, but they are demanding pets. They range in size from 12 to 22 inches tall, weigh less than three pounds and are very intelligent. If you plan on raising a capuchin monkey, plan on spending much of the day interacting and playing with it. A capuchin can live 40 years ,so it is a long-term commitment to own one. Raising a baby capuchin monkey takes a lot of equipment, time and patience.

Find out the laws in your community to make sure it is legal to own exotic pets such as capuchin monkeys. Capuchins are native to South and Central America and are illegal as pets in many countries. Currently importing primates as pets into the United States is illegal.

Build a large cage for your baby capuchin, at least six feet high and four feet wide. Make sure the cage is strong. Capuchin monkeys need to be supervised at all times. When you are not home they will need to be in caged. You need an indoor cage and an outdoor cage since capuchins enjoy being outside.

Equip the cage with things to meet your capuchin's entertainment and comfort needs. The cage should have plenty of branches to climb on. Install entertainment items such as hanging swings, hanging tires, plastic toys for toddlers, coconut shells, unbreakable mirrors, ladders, plastic pipes, small platforms, rocks or a small pond. Toys will need to be replaced with new toys often because capuchin monkeys get bored. The cage also needs a sleeping/hiding box so the monkey can rest.

Install locks on all cage openings. Capuchins are very clever; they can use their small hands to open latches and locks. They are also clever enough to get the keys to a lock and hide them for future use. Use a combination lock as opposed to a key lock.

Baby-proof your home. Install baby locks on your oven and refrigerator. Latch all of your kitchen cabinets and drawers with baby locks. Install safety locks on your windows and doors. Store all medicine and dangerous chemicals out of reach of your baby capuchin monkey by storing them in locked cabinets. You will not be able to have any breakable items or knick-knacks on shelves in your house when your monkey is roaming freely.

Feed the capuchin a healthy diet. There are specialised primate diets available in the form of dry powders for infants. You can also feed it baby food and formula. Feed the infant monkey every two hours.

Put diapers on your capuchin when it is out of its cage otherwise it will urinate or defecate where it wants. You can toilet train the monkey when it is a little bit older.

Bathe your monkey every day. You can take them in the shower with you if you want. Use a gentle baby shampoo to avoid rashes.

Give the capuchin plenty of attention and affection. Hold it and play with it often. A baby capuchin needs as much attention and time as a newborn infant. It will grow to adulthood when it is two years old, but its behaviour will be similar to a two-year-old human. If you work full-time or have children, a capuchin monkey may not be the pet for you. Work to create a bond between you and the capuchin--it will last a lifetime.

Teach the capuchin commands and obedience. While you are feeding it, repeat its name in an affectionate tone. When handing it a toy say his name. Praise the monkey when it responds to her name. Teach the monkey small commands such as "sit," "stay," "No," and "come." Be firm. You can give your monkey a five-minute 'time out' in a small, boring cage when it is disobedient. Reward it when it obeys a command.

Keep the capuchin in its cage when you have visitors in your home. Monkeys are wild animals and may be fearful when they feel vulnerable. They may bite. As it gets older and more socialised you can gradually allow visitor interaction and begin taking it on trips. Remember, you are responsible for the monkey's behaviour and can be sued and have the monkey removed from your home if he injures someone.

Take the capuchin to a veterinarian that specialises in monkey health for regular checkups. It is cheaper and safer to keep the monkey healthy and avoid illness.


Capuchin monkeys should always be supervised when they are out of their cage.

Things You'll Need

  • Large cage
  • Entertainment items and toys
  • Locks
  • Baby proof latches
  • Primate diet
  • Baby formula
  • Baby food
  • Diapers
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author