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Infant vervet monkeys are suckled for about 4 months. When
they become adept at feeding themselves solid food, the weaning
process begins, although it may not be completed until the
vervet is 1 year old.
Close social bonds with female relatives begin to develop in
infancy, relationships thought to endure throughout life.
Infants are of great interest to the other monkeys in the troop;
subadult females do everything possible to be allowed to groom
or hold a new infant.
After a birth, the mother licks the infant clean, bites off
the umbilical cord and eats the afterbirth. The newborn has
black hair and a pink face; it will be 3 or 4 months before it
acquires adult coloration.
The infant spends the first week of life clinging to its
mother's stomach. After about the third week, it begins to move
about by itself and attempts to play with other young monkeys.
Vervet mothers are proprietary in the treatment of their babies,
and some will not allow young or even other adult females to
hold or carry them. Others gladly leave their infants in charge
of any interested female. Researchers report that usually a
female's close family members will have the most unrestricted
access to the babies. As the infants grow, they play not only
with monkeys but with other young animals. Young vervets chase
one another, wrestle, tumble and play "king-of-the-castle,"
taking turns pushing each other off a high perch.
Vervets rarely venture further than about 500 yards from the
trees, since they are vulnerable to a variety of predators,
including leopards, caracals, servals, baboons, large eagles,
crocodiles and pythons. Though they usually confine contact
calls to chirping and chittering, vervets scream and squeal when
Wist je dat?
- Vervet monkeys living near areas inhabited by people can
become pests, stealing food and other items and raiding crops.
Good climbers, jumpers and swimmers, they often elude capture.
- In sexual and dominance displays vervet monkeys run the
gamut from shaking branches and jumping around to making a
hard 'kek-kek-kek' sound to mark their territories.