Even under the best circumstances, capuchin monkeys can be temperamental, unpredictable creatures. Giving your monkey a proper upbringing involves a great deal of time, effort and commitment. The effort is necessary, though, to ensure your monkey will adapt comfortably into your home environment and become an enjoyable pet. Before adopting a baby monkey, make sure the laws in your area permit monkeys as pets.
Diapering Your Baby
Capuchin monkeys will mark their territory by urinating on it, so most owners of capuchin monkeys prefer to diaper train them. If your baby capuchin isn't already wearing diapers, training should begin as soon as you bring him home. All diapers should be applied to the monkey backwards, since monkeys are quite adept at removing them if they can reach the diaper tabs or pins. You can use regular baby diapers for your baby capuchin if they'll fit, cutting a hole for the tail. If your monkey is too small to wear infant diapers, you can use a 5-inch by 5-inch baby towel or washcloth and a panty liner as a diaper, pinning it together in back with a diaper pin. If your monkey has a favorite stuffed toy he likes to cling to, diaper him face-down on his stuffed animal. This will reduce the amount of stress he experiences during diapering.
Vaccinating Against Childhood Diseases
Capuchin monkeys are susceptible to many of the same diseases humans contract. You will need to find an exotic animal veterinarian familiar with treating and vaccinating monkeys to ensure your baby monkey remains in good health. Common vaccines for baby capuchin monkeys include the M-M-R II vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, the polio vaccine and a tetanus shot. Monkeys are very susceptible to tuberculosis and herpes simplex, and should never come into contact with humans who are carriers of either of these diseases.
Feeding Your Baby
Abrupt changes in diet can cause stomach upset and diarrhea and should be avoided. Baby capuchin monkeys can be fed human baby formula from a bottle. As they get older, the consistency can be thickened with human baby rice and ground monkey biscuits. Once your baby is ready for solid foods he can eat pieces of monkey biscuits and chopped fruits and vegetables. Baby monkeys love to feed from the bottle and can be difficult to wean. Never bottle feed a baby capuchin monkey lying back and cradled like a baby. Instead, keep your baby monkey upright and leaning slightly forward, and support his chest and tummy or let him lean on a stuffed toy. This will prevent any choking hazards while he nurses. To ensure maximum health, discuss your baby monkey's diet with your breeder or veterinarian.
In the wild, baby capuchin monkeys remain with their mothers for years. As a pet, you will need to act as your monkey's mother, providing the constant attention and affection he requires. Even if you plan to transition your monkey into a large cage, while he is a baby you should have a place for him to sleep in your bedroom. You can usually accomplish this by placing a dog kennel near the bed, complete with a blanket and his favorite stuffed animal. As he matures, you can transition him to his permanent nighttime enclosure.