Vervet Monkey or Grivet or Green Monkey

(Chlorocebus aethiops)


Vervet Monkey or Grivet or Green Monkey IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Vervet monkeys have a head-body length of 41 to 62 cm and a tail length of 53-72 cm. Their face is generally entirely black, surrounded by more or less developed whiskers. They have cheek-pouches allowing them to forage and store food to be eaten later. The coat is light greyish or yellow-olive above with whitish underparts. In some subspecies, the males have a bluish scrotum. Males may reach a body-weight of up to 8 kg, females are considerably lighter.


After a gestation period of 165 days, usually one single young is born. The infant has a with black natal coat and pink face, and will gradually change to the adult colouration by three months of age.


Until recently, vervets were listed under the genus Cercopithecus. A large number of  subspecies has been described, some of which have been elevated to the rank of species:


- Callitrix (sabaeus) from Senegal to Ghana;

- Tantalus monkey (tantalus) from Ghana to Central Africa;

- Bale Mountains vervet (djamdjamensis) from Ethiopia, with a longer, thicker and darker fur than the others;

- Grivets (aethiops) from North-East Africa, they have very long whiskers;

- Malbrouck (cynosuros), South of the Congo Forest;

- Vervets (pygerythrus) from East and Southern Africa.


Differently from other guenons, vervet monkeys live in more open country, sleeping preferably in dense bush or gallery forests but foraging predeminantly in the open savanna. Vervet monkeys are mainly  vegetarian eating mostly leaves and young shoots besides bark, flowers, fruits, bulbs, roots and grass seeds. In addition they eat all kind of insects and other invertebrates, bird nestlings and occasionally small mammals. They can be very harmful to crops and orchards.


They are hunted by leopard, caracal, serval, long-crested eagle and other larger raptors.

Did you know?
That vervet monkeys may be carriers of a dangerous zoonotic agent called "Marburg Disease Virus"? Marburg Virus Disease is a hemorrhagic fever first described in 1967 when laboratory workers became ill after contacts with vervets imported from Uganda to Marburg (Germany). In 1967 a total of 31 persons got infected in Marburg and Frankfurt, and in Belgrade (Serbia). Seven of the patients died.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Chlorocebus aethiops
Name (English) Vervet Monkey or Grivet or Green Monkey
Name (French) Grivet
Name (German) Grüne Meerkatze
Name (Spanish) Mono verde
Local names Afrikaans: Blouaap
chiShona: Tsoko
isiZulu: Nkawu
kiSwahili: Tumbili
se Sotho, seTswana: Kgabo
siLozi: Njoko
siNdebele: Inkawu
siSwati: Ngobiyane
tshiVenda: Thobo
Yei: Unshoko
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Charles J. Sharp



Range Subsaharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo Dem., Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Introduced to Barbados, Cape Verde, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Habitat Wide variety of habitats: Woodlands, savannah and high plains; but habitat is limited to those near constant water supplies.
Wild population Unknown, but in 1972 was considered as common and is now believed that the number is stable (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 214 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Vervet Monkey or Grivet or Green Monkey


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Wouter van Vliet

Why do zoos keep this animal

Vervets are not a threatened species, and therefore are not a priority species for most zoos. Some zoos keep them primarily for educational reasons, e.g. in the context of African savanna exhibits (e.g. Basel, Werribee). Animal welfare is another reason for keeping vervets, as zoos may accept to accommodate animals confiscated for some reason by conservation or veterinary authorities, or monkeys originally intended but no longer used for medical research.