Primate Care Manual
The Ultimate Resource for
Quality Care and Understanding of Primates
in Private Captive Situations
Capture, restraint and handling of primates is probably
the most unpleasant part of primate ownership. There are several
reasons for this:
1) It is stressful for the primate because he/she
doesnt understand what is occurring and why the person(s)
whom it trusts and depends on is now physically harassing him/her.
2) It creates stress upon the owner, precipitating
feelings of betrayal or of harming the animal he or
she cares for.
3) There is the possibility that the primate and/or
the owner may be injured in the event of a handlers mistake.
It is also important to remember that there is NO
such thing as a primate that wont bite given the right set
of circumstances. Primates can bite HARD, and often times, frequently
during an attack. Pound for pound, primates are four to ten times
stronger than humans (21) and that estimate may be greater if
a primate perceives it is in danger. DO NOT take restraining lightly,
always prepare for the procedure in advance.
Catching and restraining a primate depends on the
age, size, health and personality of the primate. Young animals
or ones who are conditioned to being handled may simply allow
you to pick them up, perform an examination, or place them in
a carrier without any difficulty. Most, especially adults, wont
be that cooperative. The design of the cage/enclosure is another
consideration if you have to go into the structure in order to
retrieve the primate. You should have a system which allows you
the ability to close off or restrict a primate to a small area.
This will permit easier access and reduce stress by decreasing
capture time. Capture and restraint procedures should not be performed
during the heat of the day as nonhuman primates are unable to
sweat and cool down like humans. Routine procedures (i.e., exams,
etc.) should be scheduled during the fall or spring. Because of
their high intelligence and memory, most primates recall capture
procedures and will recognize the equipment. As a result, future
captures will prove more difficult.
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