Vervet Monkeys


A playful baby vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) makes funny signals to me as its mother looks on sternly. Here is a snapshot of the little one’s moment of bravery before snuggling deep in its mother’s fur, eyes transfixed on me. Vervet monkeys are the primate troublemakers of eastern Africa, in many ways very similar in human-associated behaviors to the capuchin monkeys of Central America and the long-tailed macaque in Southeast Asia. They are omnivorous and have one of the broadest diets of all primates, consuming almost any plant matter as well as invertebrates and small vertebrates alike. We have a small group of resident monkeys at Mpala, and they strive to make the most of their food-stealing habits. A few days ago I hunched over to watch them, and the mother monkey came right up to me, baby attached, bearing its teeth and grasping at my shoes as I walked away. I had a similar experience with a louder and more dinosaurian mob, which I will share soon.

Photographed in situ [1]

It will always be a mystery to me how vervet monkeys can climb around and sit comfortably in the fortress of thorns of Senegalia mellifera

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