"Vervet monkeys" Top 5 Page for this destination Masai Mara Game Reserve Things to Do Tip by grets

Masai Mara Game Reserve Things to Do: 203 reviews and 438 photos

  Vervet monkey
by grets

Vervet monkeys are stocky, green guenon with a height of about 55 cm and a weight of around 4 kg. Both sexes have long, sharp canines. Though they usually confine contact calls to chirping and chittering, vervets scream and squeal when in danger.

These primates feed on fruits, flowers, seeds, seedpods, leaves, grasses, and roots and occasional birds, eggs, small reptiles and insects. They are opportunistic omnivores who take what is most abundant and available. Vervets also make regular evening trips to a water-hole to drink.
Vervet monkeys live in troops of 20-50 individuals. They are territorial, but they generally avoid serious conflicts. Instead they will defend their territory with loud barking and displays. They are mainly ground dwellers, but take shelter in the trees when alarmed and sometimes sleep in trees. There is a social structure where the core of the group consists of several families of closely related adult females and their dependent offspring.

A single infant is born five to six months after mating. After a birth, the mother licks the infant clean, bites off the umbilical cord and eats the afterbirth. The baby is fully furred and its eyes are open, and from birth it is able to cling to its mother's belly fur, though she will usually support it with her arm during the first few hours. After about the third week, it begins to move about by itself and attempts to play with other young monkeys. The young vervet suckles less and less as it grows, though it is still nursed by its mother, and is weaned and almost independent in just under a year, before the birth of her next baby. Older vervets are allowed to look after the young when they are a few months old. This teaches them how to look after their own young when it is their turn to breed. Females often stay with their mothers for as long as they live, but males leave their family at about five years of age to join other troops and to start to breed.

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  • Written Jan 7, 2005
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