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Vervet Monkey


Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Cercopithecidae

Species: Cercopithecus aethiops



Although they are not considered to be a large species of primate, adult males can reach over 600cm and 9kg. Average Vervet females weight 3.5kg while the average male weighs 5.5kg.




This highly adaptive Old World Monkey is found all over Eastern and Southern Africa. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats ranging from swamps to deserts to lush forests.



Vervet monkeys are omnivorous, with fruits, flowers, leaves, and seeds making up the bulk of their diets. They will also consume insects, grubs, eggs, birds, and other vertebrates.



Adult Vervets are easily distinguished by their white hair and contrasting black faces. Males are known for whats called the "red white and blue" display in which they show their white bellies, bright red penises, and bright blue scrota. Like baboons, female Vervets will stay with their natal troop for life, while males will seek mating opportunities elsewhere once they reach sexual maturity. Male ranking is determined by age, fighting ability, and allies, while femle ranking is determined by maternal social status.


Vervet monkeys are known to have complex and varied vocalisations, having distinct alarm calls for specific predators. Members of a troop can also recognize the "voice" of specific individuals as belonging to their offspring or a family member. Vervets not only can recognize their own offspring, but can distinguish which infant belongs to which mother.


Vervet monkeys exhibit a behaviour known as "allomothering" where members of a troop who are not the mother of an infant will care for that infant. Often it is pre-pubescent females who participate in allomothering. Infant Vervets attract a tremendous amount of attention in a troop, and each member will smell and touch the baby shortly after its birth. It has also been observed that Vervet monkeys recognize their grandmothers, having closer relationships to them than other female members of the troop.

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