VERVET MONKEY

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chlorocebus pygerythrus
SIZE: Females – about 1.4 feet (38 centimeters); males – about 1.6 feet (48 centimeters)
WEIGHT:  Females – 7 to 11 pounds (3.2 to 5 kilograms); males – 8 to 17 pounds (3.6 to 7.7 kilograms)

Troops of vervet monkeys have been known to defend territory if it includes prime resources, keeping other troops out and away from their area. However, when resources are not at stake, troops can share space for a limited time, as a group is traveling to a new location.

When traveling, the monkeys move quadrupedally (on all fours). They are as fluent on the ground as in the trees. Mornings and evenings are spent foraging for food and drinking water. The afternoons are spent resting, grooming, and eating. When food is found, vervet monkeys will eat what they can and then fill their cheek pouches with food to save for later. At night, the monkeys climb high up in their resting tree, where they will relax and sleep until morning.

Typically only one baby is born to each mother; twin vervet monkeys are uncommon. When babies are born, they are covered in black hair and have pink faces. They appear very different from the adults. It is thought that this helps the troop identify the youngsters so everyone can easily look after them. As the babies grow, they start getting their adult coloration. At four months old, their color has usually completely changed to resemble that of their parents.

LIFE SPAN

Up to 13 years

YOUNG

Gestation: 5.5 months

Number of young at birth: 1

Weight at birth: 12 ounces (340 grams)

Age of maturity: Females – 2.5 to 4 years old; males – 5 years old

FUN FACTS

Vervet monkeys are fascinated by infants in the group and will try to groom them any chance they get. However, the mother’s close family has first access to the new baby, and everyone else has to wait their turn!

They have characteristic cheek pouches like other members of the superfamily Cercopithecoidea, which allow them to forage and store food to be eaten later.

Vervet move quadrupedally, and they are equally as comfortable on the ground as they are in the trees.