Vervet Monkeys

Jay and Kiki are father and daughter and have been at Dartmoor Zoo since before the Mee family took it over. Their enclosure was one of the first new enclosures that was built under the new management and when they were released into it they were so happy! They spend most of their time foraging on the ground but do climb trees to look out for predators. When they spot something they make an incredible noise. With Jay and Kiki it's usually the keepers in the yard! In the wild they have distinctive calls for their 4 predators: leopards, eagles, pythons and baboons. It is believed though that they have up to 30 different alarm calls.

They are very social monkeys and in the wild will live in social groups ranging in number for 10 to 70. Males will move groups when they become sexually mature but females stay in the same group. The males usually transfer to a group that is fairly near by, and they tend to go with a male relative. Other male relatives may already be in that group and due to this short movement and transference the risk inbreeding is fairly high.

Vervets like to eat fruits, leaves and seeds, insects and will occasionally will eat bird eggs and chicks. At the Zoo we experiment with lots of different kinds of enrichment for them with food as a reward. Below you can see a video of one such enrichment idea. Kiki is the one who works out how to use it, and Jay then goes and steals the food. Who is the cleverest I wonder?!