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Long known to be the most intelligent of monkeys, capuchins are most commonly targeted for the pet trade because of their “entertaining nature”. In reality, they don’t make very good pets (see article).

Physical Characteristics:

Tufted capuchins such as Bonnie, have a “signature” tuft of dark hair on the tops of their heads. When they are very young, they do not have such tufts, and when they are juvenile, two little “horns” of hair begin to grow on their heads, looking quite like little devils! Finally, at maturity, their heads sport good-looking tufts. Body colour is light to dark brown. Their tail is semi-prehensile (they can use it to grip onto branches, but not to full effect). Approximate length is 70cm to 1m, and weight about 3kg, with males being heavier than females.


From Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, to Venezuela in the north. They fare particularly well in dry lowland areas quite similar to our own.


Fruit, seeds, pith, nectar and animals such as insects, birds, eggs, bats and reptiles. Their high intelligence is observed while they forage in our sanctuary, often using rocks to split open peanut shells.

Life Cycle:

Capuchins gestate for 5-6 months, and give birth to a single offspring. Captive examples typically live up to 45 years. Here at Bushbabies, we always tell people thinking of keeping these wild animals as pets that capuchins behave like 3 year-olds but for 40 years!

Projects On The Go

Monkey Sanctuary HP 1Conservation in Southern Africa is rapidly becoming unsustainable without the active involvement of the community, especially the younger, more active generation. The Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary and The Elephant Sanctuary group strongly believe that we have to get the younger members of communities involved to instill a passion for the environment and wildlife in them through education.


Pet Monkeys... Really A Good Idea?

monkey as petI'll introduce you to Joyce, for example. A young female capuchin, she was rather pampered with child-like paraphernalia; a dress and a small hat around her head. Cute, indeed. She had been with her "foster" family since only two months old, bought straight from a breeder. The couple who owned her did not have children, and so decided to substitute the missing link with a primate, albeit a bit smaller...and with sharper teeth.



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