Vervet Monkey Natural History
An adult male of this species will reach a length of around 40 to 43 cm with a tail reaching a further 50cm, while an adult female will grow to around 34 to 39 cm adding a further 30 to 40 cm with her tail.
Habitat and Distribution
These animals will spend as much time in the trees as on the ground, which is part of the reason behind them not living in dense forest, but often preferring to live in more open areas. They will almost always be found in fairly close proximity of water holes or rivers. Their natural distribution covers much of Southern and Eastern Africa covering covering Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan through to South Africa.
In captivity these animals will live for around 25 years, while wild animals often do not live past the age of 12 to 15.
The majority of their diet is made up for fruits, seeds and grasses, however they will also occasionally eat insects and small mammals / birds if they can catch them. On the Island of Saint Kitts they have grown to love a dietary item brought across by tourists, leaving these monkeys to often be the culprits behind the theft of alcopops on the beach.
Groups and Breeding
These animals have been known to live in groups of up to 80 individuals. During the breeding season male will mate with several females, with every female producing a single offspring after a 160 day gestation period. The young are fully weaned after 6 months.
This animal is not considered to be under threat, and their population is currently not being heavily monitored. However, they are threatened by a number of factors which may change this in the future including, hunting for sport and bush meat, trapping for traditional medicine, encroachment by human settlement and becoming the victims of road kill.
In the wild Vervet Monkeys have been known to have distinct warning calls for Leopards, Eagles and Snakes.
The Vervet Monkey During Your Day Out in Kent
At Wingham Wildlife Park we have number of vervet monkeys. They are on display next to our smaller group of common squirrel monkeys and tufted capuchins opposite the smooth coated otters and meerkats. Their diet here includes vegetables, browse, seeds, nuts, monkey biscuits and insects.