Re: Love and friendship
Sat, 10 Jul 1999 22:57:33 EDT

In a message dated 99-07-10 22:17:02 EDT, wrote:

> I'm not sure I got the entire drift about having primates for pets but I
> have
> been interested in possibly getting one for a pet. My friend had a spider
> monkey but she said it was a fiasco. I will be living in a small town so
> don't know if it will even be possible to have one there. What's involved
> in
> terms of law and care? :)

It is possible to legally own primates and other exotic animals in many places. But my first advice is that you probably not do it. The circumstances in which humans can keep primates as "pets" are rare and difficult to maintain. (In fact, I believe that it is impossible to ethically maintain primates as "pets" -- only as house mates :-) It only works for us for a number of reasons. First, we have lemurs, which are really prosimians, or "proto-primates". More "advanced" primates are much harder to keep because they are too strong to be dealt with in a home environment safely or practically (even a spider monkey can wreak utter havoc in a home and cause serious injury, even in play). We've researched more "advanced" primates and wouldn't consider them until we make a LOT more money. Second, my wife is an artist who works at home and can be with the lemurs almost all of time. Primates and prosimians are extremely social animals and can't be left alone for any length of time without doing them psychological injury. Third, Anthea has a truly extraordinary gift for relating to and handling animals of all kinds (remind me to tell you about the wild macaws we encountered in Nicaragua . . .) and is super-humanly patient with them. Fourth, you have to be willing to make a very long-term commitment to an animal with amazing intelligence, agility and strength that will remain essentially at the stage of "terrible twos" for 20-40 years. Fifth, we've built special accommodations for the lemurs in our house so that they can be themselves and we can be ourselves without driving each other crazy. Sixth, you have to have access to medical services which are hard to find. Most vets aren't competent and/or willing to treat primates and most human doctors won't. Finally, you have to find competent care for the animals when you want to take a vacation. If all that doesn't put you off, by all means . . . :-)

If you're interested, check out my lemur page:


which is out of date and has a slightly corrupted file format (updating and fixing it is on my to-do list).

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley