Chimps as Pets

Chimp Haven frequently receives requests from people who want to buy a chimpanzee to raise as a pet in their private home. We cannot stress this strongly enough – Chimpanzees do not make good pets.

Chimpanzees are wild animals.  They are not domesticated like a dog or cat. When they are infants, chimpanzees are adorable and totally dependent on the human surrogate parent as they would be with their biological mother. But by the age of five or six, the cute, helpless infant has grown too strong and clever to handle. A mature chimpanzee possesses 5 to 6 times the strength of a human.  When they reach sexual maturity, their natural instincts emerge – including biting and damaging their surroundings.  At this point, the surrogate-parent typically locks the chimpanzee in a cage.

When chimpanzees are taken from their mothers as infants to be pets and continue to live in species-isolation, they do not develop appropriate social behaviors and communication skills. So, as adults, they can no longer live with humans, and they do not know how to interact with chimpanzees.  Pet chimpanzees end up in a wretched situation where no one wants them. This was the case with Henry, a former pet chimpanzee who was lucky to find a home at Chimp Haven.

Some states and many cities have laws against keeping wild or dangerous animals like chimpanzees as pets.  If you are interested in getting a pet, please visit your local animal shelter for a dog or cat who needs a home.  To help chimpanzees, consider a donation to Chimp Haven.