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Vervet Monkey

Chlorocebus pygerythrus

Regulatory Status

The State of Florida regulates captive held vervet monkeys as Class II wildlife. A license is required to possess this species for public exhibition, commercial sales, or personal use. Applicants must possess substantial experience and meet specific facility and caging requirements.

The vervet monkey is a nonnative species in Florida and is not protected except by anti-cruelty law. Homeowners do not need a permit to remove monkeys on their own property. However, homeowners should exercise caution when dealing with any primate species. They may become aggressive when fed, and feeding wildlife brings people into close proximity with wildlife. Primates also carry a host of diseases that can be spread to humans. It is prohibited to feed wild monkeys in Florida to help prevent injuries and the spread of diseases to people.


Vervet monkeys are usually around 400- 600 mm (16-24 in) in length, with tales about 300- 500 mm (12-20 in)  long. They typically weigh between 3- 5 kg (7- 11 lbs). Males are larger than females. All individuals have close-fitting moderate length hairs over most of the body, and elongated side-whiskers. The whiskers are usually a lighter color (white or pale yellow) and differ in length from individual to individual. The faces of vervet monkeys are usually sooty black. A defining characteristic of this species is the greenish color of the upper parts of the face, which is caused by the banding together of individual hairs with black and yellow strands. In males, the scrotum and surrounding areas are bright blue or a greenish color.

Vervet monkeys are a highly social species. They travel in small groups and are one of the few species to have multi-male groups. This species prefer open areas to forests and are very adept at traveling on the ground.


Vervet monkeys are omnivorous but with a heavy emphasis on fruit. Their diets often Include insects, vegetable matter, and at times, small mammals and birds.

Native Range

Vervet monkeys are found from Senegal to Ethiopia and south to South Africa.

Florida Distribution

Two troops of well over 120 vervet monkeys live in Broward County near Dania due to their release from a tourist attraction in the 1950's and 1970's. See where the species has been reported in Florida.

Potential Impacts

The effects of vervet monkeys in Florida is not well understood. This species may compete for resources with native wildlife, impact agriculture or spread disease.