Monkey business!

SA4x4|March 2020

Monkey business!
Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are the most widespread of the African monkeys; occurring from the Ethiopian Rift Valley, highlands east of the Rift, and southern Somalia, through the eastern lowlands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia (east of the Luangwa Valley), Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and all nine provinces in South Africa.
Lorraine Doyle

Like the Impala (Aepyceros melampus) of a previous article, vervets are often overlooked because they are so ubiquitous. Yet they are fascinating animals and certainly worthy of a second look.

The origin of the name ‘vervet’ is unclear; perhaps a shortening of two French words ‘vert grivet’ meaning ‘a green grivet’ (Gove 1993). Grivet, origin unknown. Whilst the etymology of their name may be uncertain, their grizzly, silver-grey coat (which sometimes takes on a greenish tint – hence the ‘green’ in their French name), along with their characteristic black face, white eyebrows and long tail, make them easy to recognise in the field.


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March 2020