Vervet Monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Cercopithecidae
Size:    Length: 15 to 33 inches (40 to 80 cm)
Weight: 5.5 to 20 pounds (2.5 to 9 kg)
Diet: Seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, bulbs, fruit, roots, insects, eggs, crops, occasionally small mammals and reptiles
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Eagles, pythons, baboons, cheetahs, leopards, caracals, servals and crocodiles
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Group: Troop
Lifespan: Approximately 12 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity



       Vervet monkeys are good swimmers and can even dive into water.

       Vervet monkeys are closely related to the Ethiopian grivet and the green monkey.


Adults have a black face, hands and feet and amber eyes. Their fur colouring differs, but most have a golden or olive back, white undersides, and grey arms and legs. Their tail is long and held up when running over the ground.



Vervets live south of the Sahara in eastern and southern Africa, from Senegal to Somalia, including Ethiopia. They are very adaptable monkeys that sometimes settle in areas inhabited by people. They usually live in woodland near rivers and lakes.


Feeding Habits

Vervets eat seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, bulbs, fruit, roots, insects, eggs, farm crops and sometimes small reptiles and mammals. Because of the moisture in the plants they eat, vervets rarely need to drink water. 



Vervet monkeys give birth almost six months after conception, usually to one baby but in rare cases, to twins. The mother immediately begins to groom her baby when it is born. The baby is born fully furred, with a pink face and open eyes. The baby begins to nurse within 30 minutes and clings to its motherís stomach for the first week. At three weeks of age, it will become more independent and begin to play with other youngsters, chasing, wrestling and pushing each other. The bond between a mother and baby is very strong, and mothers are very protective, not letting their babies out of their sight for the first few months. Some mothers will not even allow other females to hold her baby until it is several months old. Her other young children eventually are allowed to take care of and hold the baby, and this is considered a great privilege. At two months, the baby begins to eat solid food and sometime between four months to a year, will be slowly weaned. By that time, they will have taken on more adult colouring. Females stay in the same troop with their mothers for life, while males will leave sometime around the age of five, when they reach adolescence, to avoid inbreeding.



Vervet monkeys are extremely sociable monkeys that live in groups of 5 to 50 animals. They are active by day and spend most of their time in trees, eating, sleeping and travelling from branch to branch. When two vervets approach each other, they touch noses in greeting and then either play together or groom each other. They have 36 over different vocalisations, including calls to identify predators to the other members of the group. They also have a variety of facial expressions used to communicate with each other. 



Vervet monkeys are not considered to be a conservation concern at this time, although a subspecies, Cercopithecus aethiops djamdjamnesis is listed as Data Deficient.



Vervet Monkey Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US