Finger Monkey or Pygmy Marmoset: The Definitive Guide

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What is a finger monkey

What is a Finger Monkey or a Pygmy Marmoset?

A (Baby) Finger Monkey, also known as a Pygmy Marmoset is said to be the smallest species of monkey in the world. So small in fact, that it can cling to your finger like most larger monkeys would cling to the branches of a tree. Native to the rainforests of South America, these mini primates spend their days dodging in and out for tree branches and enjoying their favorite snack of Arabic Gum.

Finger Monkey Diet

In the wild, a pygmy marmoset’s diet consists largely of tree sap, gum, and resin. They also eat small insects such as butterflies and grasshoppers, as well as nectar and various types of fruit. When you are doing your grocery shopping for your finger monkey, it is important to remember that their diet needs to contain high amounts of vitamin C and D3.

You can purchase special biscuits made for finger monkeys at most local pet shops but it is also important that you provide them with fresh fruits. You can also add foods that you would have laying around the house like pasta, vegetables, rice, fish meat, and even small insects. In reality, finger monkeys have a pretty simple diet and you can experiment with different things to see what your pet likes best.

How much does a Finger Monkey or Pygmy Marmoset Cost?

These adorable 3-ounce baby pygmy marmoset primates are certainly not cheap. Depending on where you purchase your primate friend, you are going to pay between $1,500 and $4,000 for the animal alone. Plus, a habitat that is suitable for your new pet, food, a selection of toys and visits to your veterinarian, you are looking at a pretty big chunk of change. But if you are looking for a pint-sized (or smaller) exotic pet, a finger monkey is a great choice!

finger monkey cost

Finger Monkeys as Pets

People began keeping finger monkeys as pets several years ago and as exotic pets are a growing trend, finger monkeys are actually becoming more common. There are some things you should be aware of though. First and foremost, even domesticated finger monkeys are still animals and with that being said, if you intend to keep a male finger monkey, it is important to know that as they reach adulthood, they can become very aggressive as this is part of their nature.

It is also important to note that pygmy marmosets are extremely active and very clever creatures and thus need the constant companionship of both humans and other finger monkeys because human interaction is not enough and they will quickly become bored. If you are considering adopting a finger monkey, it is best to have at least two though, in the wild, they usually live in groups of 6 to 9.

Interesting Facts about Finger Monkeys

full grown finger monkey

A full-grown finger monkey.

Here are a few fun facts about pygmy marmosets:

  • Finger monkeys have the ability to do a full 180-degree head rotation
  • Fingers monkeys can jump nearly 15 feet in the air.
  • Finger monkeys are known for their long tails, usually more than twice the length of their body around 6 to 7 inches long
  • Domesticated finger monkeys tend to have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years if they are well cared for
  • There is only a 25% survival rate for offspring born to female finger monkeys

Taking Care of Pygmy Marmosets

Caring for these little creatures at times may seem like an elephant-sized job. Their diets are relatively simple: fruits, biscuits, Arabic gum, and little things you find around your pantry. But caring for these little monkeys is more difficult than simply giving them food and water.

You need to make sure that you have a proper habitat set up for your pet. Finger monkeys living in a domesticated setting require many things in their habitats. First, you will need a large cage for these active creatures, they need to be able to move and jump about, just like they would if they were living in the wild. The cage should include many toys like swings and tree branches so that they won’t get bored or lethargic.

Pygmy marmosets also require a lot of sunlight, if it is impossible to keep them in direct sunlight for long periods of time, you should plan to purchase an ultra-violet light or a heat lamp to include in their habitat. In fact, it is probably best to plan to purchase this up front just to be on the safe side.

Cleaning is very important and can be a rather tedious task. Even if you decide to put a tiny diaper on your finger monkey, their urine is very potent and both the monkey and the habitat will need to be cleaned often to avoid filling your home with unpleasant smells.
Aside from cleaning the monkey and the cage, you will also need to change their habitats and their diets on a regular basis so that they don’t get bored. This can complicate things but it doesn’t make it impossible.

Last but most certainly not least, if you are caring for a pygmy marmoset, it is important to pay attention to their health. Monkeys are very much like humans when it comes to getting sick. They can contract many common and even not so common illness that humans can contract. Some of these include the common cold, chicken pox, and even the HIV virus. If you notice that your monkey is acting strange or may not be feeling well, especially if it is less active than normal, you should take it to a veterinarian who has experience in treating primate pets for immediate medical care.

Finger Monkeys for Sale? Where to Buy Them

After all of this information, you still want to buy a finger monkey? Alright, you have several options. Since they are becoming more popular to keep as pets, you can possibly purchase one at your local pet store or a pet shop that deals with exotic creatures. If you don’t have access to one of these shops, your only other options it to go to the internet and find a location near where you live or find a shop that sells them that would be willing to arrange transportation from the shop to your home.

Is it legal in my state?

Even though the popularity in having a primate pet, including finger monkeys, is on the rise, 20 of the 50 states in the USA have already made it illegal to keep any form of a primate as a pet. Some of these states include: North Carolina, Alaska, California, Iowa, Maryland and New York.

You can do a quick search on the internet or check out to confirm whether or not you can legally own a pet monkey in your state.

Finger monkey on trees

Finger Monkeys in the wild (and Conservation Status)

In the rainforest canopies of South America, the number of finger monkeys seems to be enumerable. There are so many in the wild that they are not considered to be endangered and actually fall into the “Least Concern” species list when it comes to conservation status.

Want a Finger Monkey or Six?

Pygmy marmoset on a treeIf you are convinced that a finger monkey is the perfect pet for you and you are ready to take the plunge into a 10 to 18-year commitment, then you should need to make a few preparations before you can bring your pretty primate home. Being prepared will make a smoother transition for both you and your new finger monkey.

First, make sure you can legally own a primate as a pet in your state. If you need a license or you have to seek approval from the state, do this first. Then you can begin shopping around for a place to purchase your new pet. Checking local pet shops and online exotic pet dealers will probably be your best bets. Once you have found a place to get your new friend, you should first prepare a habitat in your home and make sure you have everything you need. Then, seek out a veterinarian who has experience with this type of animal. Finally, purchase your new fur friends, remember you need to own more than one so they don’t get bored.

If a finger monkey friend is what you have always dreamed of and are still dreaming of, get started because it will take some time. But once you have completed the process, you will have an energetic, excited, and fun new exotic friend or maybe ten of them. Once you have one finger monkey you won’t be able to get enough of their funny antics and personalities. Good luck with your monkey business!

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