Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Monkey Story

Although adult Vervet monkeys have entirely black faces, babies are born with pink features and not much bodily hair.

Female vervet monkeys are extremely maternal - they not only 'mother' their own offspring, but are also known to adopt youngsters, even from other, not related troops.

As a juvenile youngster, I love playing games like hide-&-seek. As you can also see, we have certain features in common with other primates (including humans): five fingered limbs & flat finger nails.

If we encounter foreign (unknown) food, we, the juveniles or sub-adults tend to experiment with it. If we approve - which isn't always the case - the adults will partake. We are typically omnivorous, meaning our teeth are able to 'handle' plant materials as well as meat.

Like playing or mating, grooming is part of the way we socialise. We 'auto' groom = scratch or comb our own fur; or we 'social' groom = combing through another monkey's fur; sometimes, we even assist small antelope species by grooming them.

When socialising, vervet monkeys 'reveal' many endearing qualities - they tend to express emotions. The social groups are complex but stable & mainly consist of adult females & their offspring. The males tend to move freely in & out of different groups.

Grooming each other entails removing parasites & other materials. In the vervet hierarchy, dominant males & females get the most attention (= grooming), but sub-adults often spend hours grooming each other after busy feeding 'sessions'.

After foraging (= 'hard' work) or during the hottest time of day, monkeys lazily relax.

They might even fall asleep - blissfully unaware that the "paparazzi" is on the prowl!!

There's more "monkey business" on this blog-site: SEE: Social Primates, posted 16 June 2008

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