Vervet

Vervet monkey
Vervet monkey
Vervet foraging for food.
Vervet foraging for food.

Can you believe some people still regard these sweet (and sometimes naughty) animals as vermin?

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7 comments

  1. I would never think of them as vermin. They are probably smarter than the people who think they are vermin :)Happy WW!

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  2. The can be very very naughty! But normally they only become pests when people have taught them bad habits.We have them in our garden. A large troop comes through at least once a day. We have lived in this house for nearly 10 years now, and have NEVER had an incident where a monkey has entered the house to take available food. Why? Don't leave doors and windows wide open, and don't leave food visible to them on the inside of the house. They do sit on the window ledges sometimes and look in, presumably to see what is there, but they have never entered.However each week we read in the community newspaper about people complaining that a) the monkeys terrorise them in their gardens; b) come inside and “steal” food; c) terrorise their pets; and then there are the articles about the amount of monkeys killed or maimed in traffic accidents where the person was travelling too fast, hit a monkey and then failed to even get out and help it; or stories about monkeys being shot with either pellet or real guns (in most cases the pellet guns are worse as they don't kill the animal and leave it to suffer for weeks before it finally dies or is deformed permanently). Quite frankly it is shocking how badly humans treat other animals, and particularly these monkeys.Why are they so “naughty”? People say that it is because they have no food, and so feed them from their gardens. While it is true that their habitat has been demolished to make way for a larger monkey to have a home, I don't believe that this leads to a shortage of food. Vervets eat all sorts of things. By feeding them people invite them closer to their house, feed them the wrong food, and by doing this show them all the nice foods that the humans eat, and make them bold and unafraid of humans. Why do they breed so much? Well actually they don't. As the humans build new houses and destroy their habitat troops start to merge which is perceived as breeding too much. In reality monkeys naturally adjust their population to the amount of space and food that they have. Why do they fight so much? Same reason. As troops are forced to merge the dominant animals will fight to keep their place at the top. Pretty much every question asked about monkey bad habits can be attributed to humans.So what have I done that is so different to others in my area? Pretty much it boils down to being tolerant of the monkeys (and loving them of course!). Learning to live with them, not constantly fighting with them. Learning how to stop them from coming into the house. Not feeding them (in the direct sense). Providing native trees and plants for them to eat and live in. Knowing how to act around them (like not baring teeth directly at them as in a smile. This can be perceived as a threat).When we moved into our house the garden was sparse with few trees. In the 10 years we must have planted around 200 trees and many more smaller shrubs, and now our garden is starting to look like natural forest. By contrast others in the neighbourhood move in and the first thing they do is cut down all the trees. Our neighbours opposite for example have virtually no trees in the garden and virtually no grass so all you see is bare soil. Considering we are in a valley and our gardens are steeply sloped I do not know how they do not have a landslide when it rains heavily.Ok that's it from me. So much for wordless Wednesday! 🙂

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  3. Thank you for your elaborate comment, Craig. I took these photos in Biyamiti Bush Camp last year. A troop of vervets would pass through the camp every afternoon, foraging for food provided by nature. Naturally if they came upon foods like breadrolls, apples or a chicken kebab they would also see that as provided by nature and happily tuck in. In the afternoons, our next door neighbour would light the braai and lay out all the food on the the table in the middle of the lawn. He would then spend an hour throwing stones at the vervets and trying to get the braai go. Odd how people suddenly forget they are in a national park. I eventually got fed up and threw him one of my finer nasty looks.

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