Vervet Monkey, (CERCOPITHECUS PYGERYTHRUS), captured in “The Kruger National Park” South African on a recent vacation.
Sigam 70-300mm DG
These are locally common and widely distibuted in southern and central Africa. They are unmistakable and well known. The “Afrikaans” name, blue monkey, is confusing in that the central African species, diademed guenon (C> mitis), which is closely related to the samango monkey and not the vervet, is also known as the blue monkey, The vervet, in turn, is very closely related to the green monkey (C, aethiops) of northern Africa.
They are diurnal, arboreal monkeys, which are equally at home on the ground. They are gregarious and form troops of up to 20 animals which peacefully aggregate into large groups ate water holes or feeding grounds. The troop has a dominant male which maintains its status with grimacing and threatening gestures. Fights are usually one-sided, with lower-scale animal redirecting its anger not at its attacker, but in turn to an animal of a lower status. Vocalisation is rather quiet in the wild state. The male utters a harsh ‘kek-kek-kek’ as territory demarcation. They chirp and twitter in inter-troop communication, scream in alarm and terror.
Predominantly inhabitants of savanna woodlands they will penetrate deep into unsuitable habitat along treed water courses, and may even establish there if vegetation is suitable, hence their presence along the reverine woodland of the Orange and Vaal rivers, although they are absent from the surrounding countryside,
Vervets sleep together in small groups, with similar status animals together. The troop is extremely protective of a juvenile.
They are prey to most large predators, including leopard, caracal, serval, baboon, large raptors, particularly the crowned eagle and pythons.
Usually one young, more rarely twins, is produced.
Food: Fruit, flowers, seed pods and leaves, as well as the gum of Acacia species, insects, caterpillars, spiders, lizards, bird’s eggs and young birds.
They are serious pests near to human habitation, where fearless pillaging of foodstuffs, even from inside the house, is common – also raid fruit and other crops causing considerable damage.