INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN PRIMATES
 
VERVET MONKEY (Cercophitecus aethiops)
 
The vervet monkey (Cercophitecus aethiops) forms part of the highest developed order of the animal kingdom. Zoologically the human is also classified under the order primates. This classification of such diversified creatures as old world monkeys, half apes and the human under one order, results from common characteristics of which the most important is the five fingered limbs, the formation of the teeth, the absence of facial hair and presence of flat finger nails. 
Both the hands and feet can change grip and can hold onto articles. The formation of the hands and feet enable the monkeys to live either on the ground or in trees. Because vervet monkeys spend a great part of the day on the ground, their feet are developed in such a way that they can walk for long distances. The teeth of the vervet monkey are typical of omnivores; it is able to handle plant material as well as meat.
Vervet monkeys are diurnal animals; they can distinguish colors, which is extraordinary amongst animals. 
They are able to show emotion by means of mime. These are amongst the reasons why vervet monkeys are popular animals for zoos and as pets. People keep vervet monkeys as pets, maybe because they "see or recognize" something of themselves in monkeys!
 
Mother and baby, monkey raiding bird's nest
                                                                   Mother & Baby                                   Monkey Raiding Bird's Nest 
                                     
                 
CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus)
 
Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) are gregarious and in the wild live in troops of up to 130 individuals. Adult males in troops can vary from one individual in small troops to up to 12 in larger troops. Direct staring, chasing, seizing and biting demonstrate aggression in males. Males often enlist the help of other males by screaming, retracting the lips, showing the teeth and gums and holding the tail upright.
Males on the lookout warn the troop by barking at the approach of danger.
 
Chacma baboons are omnivorous, feeding primarily on fruit and leaves, bulbs, grasses etc, while invertebrates are used throughout the year. It is not unusual to see them over turning rocks searching for something to eat or digging up bulbs and tubers all day long.
 
Babies are born throughout year and that could be why so many baboon babies end up being kept as pets, when they are small they are really ‘cute’.
Under normal circumstances lactation continues for approximately eight months. After birth the baby clings on under the mother but by the time its ready to walk will ride on the back of the mother in jockey-style on the back and often leaning back against the upturned base of the mother’s tail. There is a close bond between mother and baby and mothers will not permit other females to pick up infants until they are walking.
 
male baboon stare, baboon teeth
                                                              Male Baboon Stare                                             Look at Those Teeth!
 
                      
VERVET MONKEYS and/or BABOONS DON'T MAKE GOOD PETS!
 
Unlike dogs /cats, vervet monkeys and baboons have not evolved over thousands of years to live compatibly with humans in their domain.
·        Vervet monkeys & baboons are not domestic pets, they are wild animals; ill equipped to adapt to the alien world of their human cousins. Keeping vervet monkeys & baboons happy and healthy in captivity is difficult, expensive and time-consuming.
·        Vervet monkeys & baboons are wild animals. Their infant friendliness fades as they reach adulthood, when they become aggressive and can attack at the slightest provocation. Even hand-rearing a monkey or baboon does not stop this natural change in behavior. In fact, depriving a baby vervet monkey or baboon of a normal relationship with its mother and family group can result in a lifetime of neurotic behavior.
·        No matter what you are told, ALL vervet monkeys & baboons bite! Biting is their way of expressing anger and/or frustration and nothing you can do will change that. Contrary to popular belief neutering will have little or no effect on curbing aggression. Removal of canine teeth is not only cruel it also doesn’t remove the danger; vervet monkeys & baboons without canines can still cause painful injuries.
·        Most important – vervet monkeys & baboons naturally prefer to be in the wild!
 
SAMANGO MONKEY (Cercopithecus mitis)
 
Samango monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) are much darker in color than the vervet monkey, they have dark brown faces and the hair on the head and shoulders is black. The tail is dark above to the tip.
 
Samangos monkeys are only found in indigenous forest habitat and are seldom seen on the ground, except when temporarily in transit or foraging. Samangos monkeys are diurnal and gregarious, living in troops that can range from four to over 30. Troops invariably have a single male adult. Aggression between troop members is rare. Head bobbing is part of the threat display by both sexes and is usually sufficient to cause the submissive individual to move off.
 
Troops rest at night in trees, activity starts early in the morning foraging for ripe wild fruits and flowers, dry and green leaves, pods and shoots. Caterpillars are sought after.
 
The young are born seasonally during warm, wet months of the year depending on the area this is from October to April, very similar to the vervet monkey. The baby remains with the mother for about two months before becoming independent.
 
LESSER BUSHBABY (Galago moholi)
 
This is the smallest of the five primates. They are nocturnal and live singly or in pairs. They are excellent jumpers; a single leap can be up to ten meters they seldom venture onto the ground.
They make nests with grass and leaves in the hollows or holes in trees. They mark their territory by urinating on their hands and rubbing it on their feet thus leaving a scent mark where they move.
 
Because their eyes are so large it can’t turn in the socket therefore bushbabies have to turn their heads to have a peripheral view, similar to owls. The long tail is used to provide balance when jumping. The tail is longer than the body.
 
Litters of one to three may be born twice a year in some areas. Bushbaby diet consists of gum from Acacia trees, insects and can include flowers and fruit.
 
                                           Lesser & thick-tailed bushbaby
                                                                             Lesser & Thick-tailed Bushbabies in Rehabilitation
 
THICK-TAILED BUSHBABY (Otolemur crassicaudatus)
 
The thick-tailed bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus) is more than double the size of the lesser bushbaby. They have long bushy tails, large eyes and ears and small heads.
 
They are nocturnal and live in small groups but prefer to forage alone. Their diet consists of tree gum, flowers, lizards; eggs & birds, insects only form a small percentage of their diet.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
RIVERSIDE WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTRE
PO BOX 161, LETSITELE 0885, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA.
 
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