Exotic pets have been popular for centuries, but it is only in the last few decades that were owning a wild or exotic animal as a pet has become an attainable goal for people who are not in the highest classes of wealthy society. Today, finger monkeys and sugar gliders are considered to be two of the most popular exotic pets in the world. But which one would be the right fit for you? Let’s take a closer look at these two animals to see which would be the best pet for your home.
Finger monkeys can live for about 15 to 20 years if they are kept in exceptional health and given proper care.
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Sugar gliders live for slightly less, usually living about 12 to 14 years. In both cases, you must be prepared to commit over a decade of exceptional care for these animals.
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Both sugar gliders and finger monkeys are instinctively social animals in the wild, and this holds true when they are kept as pets. It is highly recommended for both species that you adopt at least two same-sex animals when they are young to meet their socialization needs.
When finger monkeys are young, they are quite small—only about 5 inches, which is what attracts many people to them. However, once they reach full adulthood, they will have grown to about 12 inches, so you will need to be prepared for this change in size.
Adult sugar gliders grow to about 7 inches, not counting their tails—which usually reach about 6 inches on their own.
Finger monkeys require a specialized diet to keep them healthy. Their diet is mostly fruits and vegetables, along with some cooked meats like chicken as well as certain types of insects that they would eat in the wild.
Sugar gliders also have a specialized diet that must be carefully regulated to avoid certain kinds of health issues. For example, sugar gliders who have an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus will become paralyzed.
The diet for both sugar gliders and finger monkeys isn’t necessarily expensive, but it is time-consuming because you must be very precise and knowledgeable with what you give them to meet their detailed nutritional needs.
Finger monkeys require large enclosures with an emphasis on height and toys/accessories to keep them stimulated and physically healthy. Their cage should be fitted with various branches, swings, and other monkey-appropriate toys to keep them occupied when they are in their cage.
Sugar gliders can make do with smaller cages, but the cage should still emphasize height over width because sugar gliders prefer to climb cages should have lots of cute accessories, such as exercise wheels, glider pouches, branches, and ladders.
Neither sugar gliders nor finger monkeys are recommended for homes with children because they are wild animals, not domesticated pets, and are therefore more unpredictable.
Taking care of the nutritional needs of your Finger Monkey, or Pigmy Marmoset is a significant responsibility. First of all, you have to know what the species lies. In general, a full grown Finger Monkey enjoys a varied diet of fresh and organic foods. As is the case with human infants, baby Finger Monkeys begin eating by moving from liquids to solids as their bodies mature. So, when you go out grocery shopping for your little friend, be sure to pick up some or all of the following foods so you can offer it a well-balanced diet.
What does a finger monkey eat:
• Fresh leaves
• Small or chopped fresh fruits
• Tropical flower nectars
• Insects and beetles
• Miniature lizards
• Spiders and flies
• Tiny reptiles
• Tree gum and sap
• “Monkey Biscuits”
• Baby formula
• Rice cereal
After all that eating, your Pygmy Marmoset will probably be thirsty. Keeping your Finger Monkey hydrated is crucial. Without enough to drink, your little friend could begin to suffer from preventable ailments. On the same token, you don’t want to offer the animal an unhealthy or potentially harmful drink. So, while you’re making your grocery list make sure to choose from one of these Finger Monkey favorites:
• Sap from tropical trees
• Fresh, clean drinking water (avoid water that has been fortified with fluoride)
• Almond or goat’s milk (some studies show that soy products can result in aggression in adults)
• Diluted, organic fruit juice (avoid fruit juice concentrate)
When offering your Finger Monkey food, try to keep in mind that maintaining proper nutrition is essential to raising a happy and healthy primate. The sooner you get the animal into a well-balanced routine, the better your chances of enjoying their company for years to come. Also, remember that feeding a baby Finger Monkey takes some skill. You should not ever feed your baby Finger Monkey while it is laying on its back, but instead, be sure to place it on its stomach with its head tilted slightly upwards to prevent choking and death.
Pygmy Marmosets as pets
Pygmy Marmoset, commonly called as finger monkey or pocket monkey, is a unique species found in the rainforests of eastern Ecuador, Brazil, southeastern Colombia, Northern Bolivia, and Eastern Peru. Typically one among the smallest primates existing in the world and its body length vary from just 14 to 16 cm plus a 15 to 20-cm long tail. The females just weigh around 120 grams and males averaging 140 grams. These are also known as ‘pocket monkey’ or ‘little lion’ at different parts of the world referring to its diminutiveness.
The life span of finger monkeys was previously recorded as 15 years, but in captivity, it is noted that the life span ranges from 6 to 9 years. They are being cared for at zoos, and there are a few people who raise them as domestic pets now. Pygmy Marmoset is not an endangered species, but has a possible chance of endangerment, so listed as least concerned under endangered species list. The threat for them is habitat destruction as in the case of many other species; however, these monkeys are easily adaptable to new environments, which is a primary reason they are not endangered till date.
Things to know before buying finger monkey
As discussed above, finger monkeys are now raised at households as pets, but you should have a good knowledge of how to properly care for them while doing so. This variety of monkeys is not so easy to keep, so one should do adequate preparation to raise them at home or farms. Finger monkeys needed to be fed each two hours as a baby for about two weeks.
To keep them, you also need to get a special permit, and the regulations vary in each state. Next, to get a license, you have also to guarantee that there is a primate veterinarian available nearby. Pocket Monkey is not a typical general animal veterinarian, but someone with a primate specialization. It is illegal in South America to export finger monkeys and also illegal to import some such types of primates in the US. Despite strict regulations, many people keep them as pets as they are so cute and adorable.
Diet and habit
Diet is an important aspect you should know on raising finger monkeys. At their natural habitat, they feed on saps and gums from vines and different trees. The exudates they intake are the primary source of calcium, protein, and carbohydrates. They also eat small quantities of fruits, arthropods, plant parts, different insects, and small reptiles.
They use their sharp lower teeth to puncture trees and gorge on the sap, resin, gum, and latex inside. So, if you are caring for them, need to arrange for a special diet consisting of similar nutrients is important. One advantage is that they get adapted to different environments quickly and easily for survival.
Another important thing to note is that finger monkeys are a bit notorious for their biting of owners, throwing feces on others, and sometimes attack. You may take good precaution on planning to raise them at home. They are not so vulnerable as their larger counterparts due to size. They may show aggressiveness while hungry or when felt offended. Altogether, you need to be an adventurous pet owner to care for these marmosets.