Primate Care Manual


The Ultimate Resource for
Quality Care and Understanding of Primates
in Private Captive Situations


Chapter Excerpt


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 doesn’t 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 handler’s mistake.

It is also important to remember that there is NO such thing as a primate that won’t 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, won’t 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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