Squirrel monkeys are intelligent animals that live primarily in the rainforests of South America. As with other monkey breeds, squirrel monkeys are difficult to keep as pets. Unless you are experienced in exotic animal care, most animal care experts recommend you do not purchase a squirrel monkey or other primate. Before bringing a squirrel monkey into your home, however, it is critical to create a safe, healthy environment.
Verify with your state and local governments that it is legal to own a squirrel monkey in your area. The laws vary greatly at all levels of government. In some areas, you may be required to obtain an exotic pet permit.
Contact a qualified monkey breeder in your area. While there are many breeders who do care for their animals, the exotic pet industry is rife with unscrupulous individuals who subject the monkeys in their care to poor conditions. Insist on visiting the breeder and touring his facilities.
Find a veterinarian who specialises in monkey care. Your local zoo can usually give you contact information for a well qualified vet. Remember that veterinarians who deal mainly with dogs and cats are not typically qualified to care for monkeys.
Build an enclosure for your squirrel monkey. Monkeys need a great deal of space. Your enclosure should be large enough to allow your monkey room to run, jump and climb. Because squirrel monkeys live in rainforest canopies, they are much more comfortable perched high above the ground.
Caring for a squirrel monkey is an enormous commitment. Be sure you understand the risks and responsibilities before you obtain one.