Monkey See, Monkey Do

Cute and wet little baby vervet monkey copies mom’s shake off of the rainwater.

Vervet monkeys are protected in terms of both national and provincial conservation legislation and also in terms of national animal protection legislation, and injuring or killing them is an offence!

Vervet monkeys are NOT classified as “vermin”.

Vervet monkeys are NOT “breeding out of control”, nor is there a “population explosion”.

They do NOT attack people or pets! Vervets will threaten any person or other animal they regard as an immediate threat to their safety or that of a fellow troop member, but these threats are merely defensive aggression and are intended only to ward off a possible aggressor and are not carried through to actual attack. Vervets do not attack, but they will bite in self-defense if they are attacked or seriously provoked. Concern that Vervets will bite children who encounter them in the garden or home is unfounded. Thousands of children experience close encounters with Vervets in KZN every day – none get bitten!

They do NOT transmit disease! Fears that Vervets are vectors (carriers) of rabies or other infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans are unfounded. There has never been a recorded case of a rabid Vervet. This can be confirmed by the State Vet.

If Vervets visiting your property are a problem for you, make every effort not to leave any food around that will encourage their presence and make them less cautious of humans. This applies both inside and outside your home. For example:

If you feed the wild birds in your garden try to do so at random times so that there is no routine that the Vervets can get accustomed to, otherwise they will be waiting for you at your bird table each day.
Vervets will enter homes to eat fruit and other food kept on counters, sideboards, tables, etc. Keep fruit and other food concealed when Vervets are about.
If your house is left unattended, doors and windows should be kept closed or only slightly ajar so as to prevent Vervets from gaining access. Windows fitted with mesh or insect-proof screens will keep Vervets out but still allow air circulation.
If you are having a children’s’ party or run a creche or day-care center and the children are given food, sweets, or biscuits out of doors, ensure that adults are present to discourage Vervets from harassing the children for their eats. If there are Vervets in the vicinity it is advisable that, where practical, the children finish eating indoors before going outside. Edible leftovers should be cleared away as soon as possible so that Vervets are not attracted to the garden whilst the children are playing there. Vervets harassing children for their eats can be easily chased off by an adult with a squirt bottle or water pistol.
Dog food left over after the dog has eaten, or which is left out all day, may attract Vervets.

NB. Pellet guns and catapults are a scourge – Vervets shot with pellets rarely die instantly. Instead, the pellets cause injuries that result in a slow, agonizing death over days and weeks. Stones, steel or lead balls, marbles, etc., shot at monkeys with a catapult cause severe and life-threatening injuries such as smashed eyes and broken bones. Shooting at monkeys with paintball guns can result in serious and even lethal injuries and it is illegal, unnecessary, and very cruel – DON’T DO IT!!!

Some info from Monkey Helpline, please visit their page for a more in-depth article.

Vervet Monkeys – What you need to know

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