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Leave the Monkey Off Your Christmas Wish List

If you have a pet monkey on your Christmas wish list, you may need to think of another gift. If you're in Arizona, for example, you could replace it with a hedgehog. That's because a new law in Arizona bans keeping monkeys, chimpanzees or any other other non-human primates as pets, but does allow a hedgie in the home.

As reported in the Phoenix New Times, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has updated its provisions regulating domestic and captive wildlife. But the rules non-human primates should come as no surprise.

Twenty-two states already ban private ownership of non-human primates: Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

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Why are non-human primates getting a bad rap?

For starters, they can be difficult to toilet-train, and "sometimes engage in distasteful activities involving their feces and urine." But when they grow older, they can become deadly.

"As a primate reaches sexual maturity, it will often become more aggressive and may start biting or fighting people to establish dominance, including attacking their owners or visitors to the owner's home," the Arizona Game and Fish Department states. "With larger primates, these behaviors can turn dangerous or even deadly for humans; as in the [2009] case of the Connecticut woman who lost her face and hands after being mauled by a friend's 200-pound chimpanzee."

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As if that wasn't enough cause to pause on getting a pet primate, the animals can also transmit a host of diseases to people, including monkey pox, simian herpes B virus, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV, the primate form of HIV), measles, rabies, Marburg virus, cercopithecine herpes virus I, salmonella, influenza virus, filoviruses (ebola), streptococcus pneumonia, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis.

So do yourself, and Santa, a favor this year by keeping your Christmas wish list clear of any primates.

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Image via Phoenix New Times

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