How Much Does a Marmoset Monkey Cost?

Last Updated on January 11, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Marmoset monkeys are undeniably adorable. Their tiny size, inquisitive nature, and human-like features make them seem like ideal exotic pets. But are these primates truly suitable for life in captivity as pets?

Getting a pet marmoset is a major commitment – let’s take an in-depth look at what’s involved before you take the plunge into marmoset ownership.

Marmoset Monkey Price Highlights

Marmoset monkeys are alluring as pets, but they truly have highly complex needs. Before getting one, keep these key considerations in mind:

  • Marmosets are not beginner pets and require extensive research and preparation before ownership.
  • They are costly, with an initial purchase price of $2,500 to $5,000 just to acquire the marmoset.
  • Yearly expenses for food, housing, enrichment, and veterinary care easily total $5,000-$10,000.
  • Marmosets need specialized diets – not just monkey kibble. Failing to meet their complex dietary requirements risks serious illness.
  • Marmosets are highly active and require very large, enriched indoor and outdoor living spaces they can climb and leap in.
  • Socialization takes intense daily effort and months of patient positive reinforcement training. An untamed marmoset will be miserable to handle.
  • You must have regular access to a qualified exotic animal vet before adoption. Marmoset medical care is expensive.
  • Marmosets have a 10-15 year lifespan in captivity. This is a very long commitment to take on for an exotic pet.

How Much Does a Marmoset Monkey Cost?

Marmoset monkeys are not cheap pets. Just the Marmoset monkey cost alone ranges from $2,500-$5,000 for a healthy, hand-raised baby marmoset from a reputable exotic animal breeder.

And that is just the beginning. Ongoing care, feeding, housing, and medical expenses quickly add up for these high-maintenance primates. Realistically plan to spend $5,000-$10,000 per year properly caring for a pet marmoset over its 10-15 year lifespan.

Exotic pet ownership is not something to jump into lightly because an animal is cute. The expenses involved need careful budgeting, especially with primates requiring specialized care like marmosets.

Monkeys R Us offers Common, Penicillata, and Geoffrey Marmosets for sale, but the prices are not listed.

Ranch of Exotic Breeds offers Marmoset Monkeys for sale with prices ranging from $1,200 to $1,600 depending on the gender.

Exotic Animals for Sale reports that a legit Marmoset Monkey can cost about $6,000.

Marmoset Enclosure Requirements

An indoor wire cage alone is unacceptable for housing marmosets. They need very large, highly enriched spaces.

An optimal marmoset home is a large cage connected to a larger outdoor enclosure they can access when weather permits. The recommended minimum dimensions are:

  • Indoor cage: 4ft x 6ft x 8ft tall
  • Outdoor enclosure: 8ft x 6ft x 8ft tall

Marmosets are agile, arboreal primates adapted for climbing and leaping through trees. Their enclosures must be equipped with plenty of horizontal and vertical climbing surfaces, ropes, branches, hammocks, platforms, and toys. Provide at least 4-5 feet of climbing space per marmoset.

Their living space should be designed to mimic elements of their natural forest habitat as closely as possible. This provides physical and mental enrichment. Access to natural light and fresh air is also very beneficial to marmosets.

Cleaning and disinfecting marmoset enclosures is a time consuming daily chore to keep the space hygienic. Marmoset waste can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella.

What Exactly Are Marmoset Monkeys?

Marmosets are New World monkeys native to South America. These wild animals are some of the smallest primates in the world, typically only around 6-8 inches tall and weighing less than a pound. There are many different species of marmosets, but the most common kinds kept as pets are the common marmoset and the finger or pygmy marmoset.

Marmosets are extremely social and live in groups in the wild. They have specialized teeth for gnawing into trees to feed on gum and sap. Marmosets are also vocal primates, using a wide range of sounds to communicate with each other.

Is It Legal to Own a Pet Marmoset?

The laws on owning exotic pets like marmosets vary from state to state. In some places, all primates are illegal to own as pets. In others, you may be able to get a permit to keep certain species. Check your local and state laws to see if marmoset ownership is allowed where you live before getting your heart set on having one as a pet.

Why Do People Want Marmoset Monkeys as Pets?

Marmosets are enticing as pets because they are cute, intelligent, and able to form bonds with their owners. Their small size also makes them easier to handle and house than larger primates like macaques.

Marmosets are playful and energetic, providing plenty of entertainment. And unlike dogs or cats, having an exotic monkey pet provides a real conversation piece!

But while marmosets have many positive attributes, they also have some important drawbacks to consider before deciding to get one as a pet.

The Downsides of Keeping Marmosets as Pets

Marmosets are legal to own in some places and can make for delightful pets, but there are good reasons to think twice before taking one home. Here are some downsides of marmoset ownership to keep in mind:

  • Specialized care requirements – Marmosets are exotic animals with specialized diets, housing, enrichment, and veterinary needs that require substantial research and preparation to properly provide. They are not easy “starter pets” for beginners.
  • Social needs – Marmosets are incredibly social and live in groups in the wild. Solitary marmosets as pets can become depressed and stressed. Properly caring for their social requirements is challenging.
  • Destructive tendencies – Pet marmosets need extensive stimulation and environmental enrichment to stay happy in captivity. Without this, they often turn to destructive chewing and gnawing to occupy themselves.
  • Can be aggressive – Though small, marmosets can bite and scratch quite badly. They often bond with only one person and become jealous and aggressive towards others.
  • Messy and smelly – Marmosets tend to scent mark their territory and fling their waste around their enclosure. Their enclosures and diet can be quite smelly to manage.
  • May carry diseases – Marmosets sometimes harbor diseases that can be transmitted to humans, like hepatitis or herpes. This is a health risk, especially to vulnerable groups like the elderly, pregnant women, or young children.
  • 10-15 year commitment – A marmoset as a pet typically lives over a decade in captivity. This is a very long-term commitment to take on just for an exotic pet.

While marmosets make for delightful YouTube videos and zoo exhibits, captive care of marmosets has ethical concerns and requires extensive expertise, time and money. They have very complex needs. Most people are better suited to keeping more traditional domesticated house pets.

Feeding Your Pet Marmoset

Marmoset babies have very specialized diets that can be challenging to properly provide in captivity.

In the wild, marmosets feed on tree sap, gum, insects and fruit. They rely heavily on the natural gums found in their habitat to meet their nutritional needs.

As pets, their diet must replicate their wild food sources as closely as possible. A basic marmoset diet consists of:

  • Specialty monkey chow: Marmoset jelly or gum is a crucial source of protein and nutrients.
  • Insects: Crickets, grubs, mealworms and other insects provide protein.
  • Fruits: Bananas, grapes, blueberries and melons. Only low-sugar fruits as treats 2-3x a week.
  • Vegetables: Cooked sweet potatoes, peas, beans, carrots.
  • Eggs: A good source of protein provided 2-3x a week.
  • Yogurt: Also used to provide probiotic bacteria to support a healthy gut.

Fresh filtered water must always be available in clean bowls as well.

You might also like our articles about the cost of monkeys in general, pet finger monkeys, or capuchin monkeys.

This diet requires researching reputable suppliers of specialty marmoset food sources, providing variety, and continually preparing fresh foods. It’s not as simple as just dumping marmoset kibble in a bowl! A poor marmoset diet will quickly lead to serious health issues.

Marmoset  Baby Handling and Training

Marmoset SpecimenMarmosets require extensive social interaction and mental stimulation. A properly socialized marmoset will bond closely with their owner and enjoy spending time together.

But to become well-socialized and friendly takes a huge amount of time, energy and patience. Most marmosets are skittish and fearful when young, and may remain so into adulthood without intense positive reinforcement training. Never use any negative punishment on a marmoset.

To socialize a pet marmoset:

  • Let them become comfortable in their enclosure before excessive handling. Give them a few days to settle in before starting training.
  • Use positive reinforcement with clicker training and treats to teach them to willingly approach you and be held.
  • Start hand-feeding them treats so they associate you with good things.
  • Spend at least an hour a day interacting, training, and playing with your marmoset once settled.
  • Be patient! Building trust takes many months. Never force interactions or lose your temper with a fearful marmoset.

Marmosets enjoy learning tricks and playing with puzzles and toys. Providing new novel enrichment items prevents boredom. But remember – a poorly socialized marmoset may never become the cuddly YouTube-worthy pet you hoped for.

Vet Care for Pet Marmosets

You must have an exotic animal vet available providing proper medical care for primates before getting a marmoset.

Marmosets need:

  • Yearly exams to check their health since they hide illness well.
  • Preventative care and vaccines, deworming, vitamin supplements.
  • Blood tests sometimes required to check protein levels from their specialized diet.
  • Diagnosis and treatment if they get injured or become sick.

Exotic veterinarians are difficult to find, and appointments are expensive. Like all primates, marmosets can suffer serious health complications from things like diabetes, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal issues, or mobility problems.

Getting pet insurance on your marmoset is highly recommended to offset surprise vet bills. Budget $1,000-$2,000 for first year veterinary costs, then $500-$1,000 for annual costs depending on the marmoset’s health.

Final Words

Marmoset monkeys can make delightful pets – but only for the most knowledgeable, dedicated, and financially stable exotic pet owners. For everyone else, a cat or dog that thrives being around people is likely a much better fit! But you can always admire marmosets at the zoo.

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