Vervet Monkey

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Cercopithecidae Chlorocebus Chlorocebus pygerythrus
Vervet Monkey
IUCN Status: Least-Concern
  • Common Name: Vervet Monkey
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1821
  • Monkey Size: 40 to 60 cm (15.75 to 23.62 in)
  • Skin Color(s): Whitish gray
  • Habitat: Forests, savannas, and shrublands
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Native Countries: Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Vervet Monkey Distribution

Vervet Monkey Characteristics

Vervet Monkey

The vervet monkey[1] (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) is an Old World monkey of the Cercopithecidae family endemic to southern and eastern Africa.

  • The term “vervet” is also used to refer to any member of the genus Chlorocebus. The five different subspecies are mainly found in southern Africa and some eastern countries.
  • These medium-sized monkeys have long tails and white-gray fur. They have colored spots on their heads, backs, and sides.
  • The color of these patches varies depending on the subspecies in Mother Nature’s trendy balayage, from olive green and auburn to mottled black and gray. They have black feet, hands, and ears.
  • Their handsome faces are black accented with white hair on their browbones and white whiskers on their cheeks. They spot dark brown eyes that invite connection.
  • Vervet monkeys have sitting pads. These sitting pads (found on all Old-World Monkeys and gibbons) allow the monkey to sit comfortably and sleep upright.
  • They have long arms and legs, which they use to walk in quadrupeds. Males have a bold and distinctive red, white, and blue coloring of their genitals.
  • Females have a blue vulva, pink perineum, and no stripes. Babies are born with pink faces and black or brown hair.
  • By the third month, their faces darken and contrast with their white mustaches. They have their adult coloring at about 6 months.

What Do Vervet Monkeys Eat?

What Do Vervet Monkeys Eat?

In the wild, the Vervet Monkey nourishes on these food sources but not limited to[¶]:

  • Needle Bush (Azima tetracantha).
  • Coastal Wattle (acaciaia< cyclops).
  • Snake Bean Plant (Bobgunnia madagascariensis).
  • Indian-Fig (Opuntiaia ficus-indica)
  • Ebony Diospyros (Diospyros mespiliformis).
  • Gum Arabic Tree (Acacia nilotica).
  • Sweetgale (Myrica)
  • Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica).
  • Spiny Jackal Berry (Diospyros senensis).
  • Aroma (Dichrostachys cinerea)
  • Milkwood (Tabernaemontana)
  • Apon-Apon (Pistia stratiotes)
  • Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
  • Nightshade (Solanum um incanum)
  • Rigid Star Berry (Diospyros squarrosa).

What Eats Vervet Monkeys?

What Eats Vervet Monkeys Brown Hyenas?

The primary predators of Vervet monkeys are Leopards (Panthera pardus), Brown Hyenas (Hyaena brunnea) and Lions (Panthera leo)[§].

Vervet Monkey Facts

Chlorocebus Pygerythrus

  • While most of their diet is plant-based, vervet monkeys, like humans, are opportunistic omnivores. The cute monkeys will eat whatever is available!
  • Not only can vervet monkeys skilfully navigate through the treetops, but they can also swim.
  • Vervet babies form special bonds with their grandmothers, favoring everyone else (except their mom).
  • Excavations indicate that there were vervet monkeys in the houses of ancient Egypt.
  • They are territorial and will defend their space by making loud calls and shaking branches against potential intruders.

Suggested Reading: Biggest Monkey Species

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2023, September 30). Vervet Monkey. Bio Explorer. "Vervet Monkey" Bio Explorer, 30 September 2023, "Vervet Monkey" Bio Explorer, September 30 2023.
Key References
  • [1]“Vervet monkey – Wisconsin National Primate Research Center – UW-Madison”. Accessed November 15, 2022. Link.
  • [¶] – Fricke, E.C., Svenning, J. Accelerating homogenization of the global plant-frugivore meta-network. Nature 585, 74-78 (2020).
  • [§] – Middleton, O.S, Svensson, H, Scharlemann, J.P.W, Faurby, S, Sandom, C.J. CarniDIET 1.0: A database of terrestrial carnivorous mammal diets. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Craig, Christie A., Eleanor I. Brassine, and Daniel M. Parker. “A record of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) diet in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana.” African Journal of Ecology55.4 (2017): 697-700.


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