Vervet Monkey Facts

Scientific name: Chlorocebus pygerythrus


Adult Vervet monkeys rarely live over 20 years of age.

Weight:  4 – 8 kg (8.8 – 17.6 pounds)

Diet and feeding:

Vervet monkeys are omnivores feeding on a variety of grasses, leaves, roots, bulbs, seeds, flowers, tree gum, insects, small mammals, birds and eggs.
Breeding and reproduction:

Within the troop only the “Alpha male” mates with the females. After successful conception the female has a 5 and half month gestation and gives birth to a single baby, twins have been recorded.

As soon as the baby is born the mother eats the placenta and cleans the new-born by licking off any birth matter. The cleaning of the birth helps prevent any unwanted attention of nearby predators that may get scent of the birth.
By 2 – 3 months of age the baby will begin to eat solid food and by 1 year of age they are normally weaned.

The mother is very protective over her baby and will only allow her older children to hold the baby when she feels it is big enough. No other troop members may hold the baby.

The Interesting facts on Vervet Monkeys

Vervet monkeys can also be found in the Caribbean Islands and Barbados with the first monkeys possibly been brought in as pets.
Vervet monkeys are considered as “Old World monkeys”, and have been in existence for over 65 million years which is more than man.
They are very social primates living in groups called “troops” of up to 80 members.
Within the troop there is a definite hierarchy. New born babies can have a higher ranking than certain adults if their mother is of a high rank.
Females stay in the troop for life whereas males at the age of 4 or 5, when sexually mature will leave the troop and join up with neighbouring troops in the area. The movement of males between troops helps to strengthen the gene pool and prevents possible inbreeding.
In South Africa the Vervet Monkey is also known as the “blou Aap”, meaning “blue ape”. They are called this as the male has a bright blue scrotum that is very visible to the eye.
These monkeys have more than 30 different vocalizations. The vocalizations are used to communicate with one another and to give warning of nearby predators.
Although Vervet monkey numbers are not high enough to be considered as vermin, in the eyes of many farmers they are. Farmers are responsible for 73% of orphaned vervets.
These often innocent creatures are shot, killed in traps and poisoned for destroying the farmer’s crops.
Their numbers have also dropped due to deforestation as well as pet and muti trading. Monkeys are also caught for research purposes.
Vervet monkeys do not carry the rabies virus.

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