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Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) Fact Sheet, 2014   Tags: animals, fact sheets, mammals, primates, san diego zoo, sdzg, wildlife  

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) Fact Sheet, 2014

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Describer (Date): Cuvier (1821)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Cercopithecidae

Subfamily: Cercopithecinae

Genus: Chlorocebus

Species: Chlorocebus pygerythrus *

Subspecies: C. p. exhubitor
Subspecies: C. p. hilgerti

Subspecies: C. p. nesiotes
Subspecies: C. p. pygerythrus
Subspecies: C. p. rufoviridis

* Experts disagree on the taxonomy of this species
and others within the same genus. Green, grivet, malbrouck, and tantalus monkeys have been
referred to as vervets by some.
Body Weight:
Male: 3.9-8.0 kg (8.6-17.6 lb)
Female: 3.4-5.3 kg (7.5-11.7 lb)

Head & Body Length:

Male: c. 490 mm (19 in)
Female: c. 446 mm (18 in)

Tail Length:

Male: 600-750 mm (24-30 in)
Female: 485-653 mm (19-26 in)

Back and sides are mottled combinations
of light brown, grayish-brown, tawny, olive-brown,
olive-green, or brownish-yellow; belly and inner
limbs are white or off-white. Face black and ringed
in white fur. Feet and hands black, though more
pronounced in adult males.
Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology
Range: Endemic to eastern and southern Africa.

Found in savanna, open woodland, and
forest-grassland mosaic. Commonly associated
with water and Acacia trees. Extremely adaptable
and found in urban areas.

IUCN Status:
Least Concern (version 3.1); wide-
spread and abundant with no major threats;
assessed in 2008

CITES Appendix:
Appendix II
Locomotion: Walk slowly to forage for food. Run
quickly and scale trees to escape predators. Leap
through trees, ricocheting off branches during inter-
group encounters

Activity Cycle:
Diurnal monkeys, leave sleeping
trees near sunrise for daily foraging trips. Rest near
mid-day and visit watering locations. Spend most of
of the day eating.

Social Groups: Live in heterosexual groups;
composed of 2 or more females, their offspring, and
multiple males. Numbers range from 7-53, though
typically with fewer than 40 individuals. Linear
dominance hierarchies exist within each sex.

Omnivores who principally consume plant
products. Many populations rely heavily on the
leaves, thorns, flowers, pods and peas, gum, bark,
and wood of Acacia trees.

Medium to large mammalian carnivores
and eagles; particularly leopards, African Crowned
Eagle, and Martial Eagle. Predator specific alarm
calls warn group members of potential harm.
Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights
Sexual Maturity: Females first reproduce at 4-6
years of age; males sexually mature at 5-6 years.

163-165 days, in captivity; estimate of
156-161 days in the wild.

Litter Size:
1-2, typically 1

Birth weight:
300-400g (0.7-0.9 lb)

Age at Weaning:
Complete by c. 18 months

To 17 yrs in the wild; up to c. 30 yrs in
Feature Facts: Diurnal, semi-terrestrial monkeys,
with pronounced sexual dimorphism. Adult males
are c. 30% heavier than females and have brightly
colored red, white, and blue ano-genital regions
that are confidently displayed by dominant males.
Highly social monkeys, vervets produce numerous
vocal calls. Over 30 distinct auditory sounds are
used to warn members of danger and to maintain
group cohesion. As many as 53 monkeys may
live together, though group size is typically less
than 40. Individuals gather in trees to sleep at
night and travel together in daylight to forage and
feed on various plant and animal foods.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2014 San Diego Zoo Global.

How to cite: Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) Fact Sheet, 2014. c2014. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. 
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2014 Sep 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to



We wish to thank Dr. Peter Henzi for providing content review of this fact sheet. Peter is an expert in primate sociality and cognition and conducts field research with baboons and vervet monkeys in southern Africa. Dr. Henzi is currently a faculty member of the Psychology Department at the University of Lethbridge, and is also a Honorary Research Professor at the University of South Africa.

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