“Yes, just walk in and come have my breakfast, all of it. Don’t mind me, I can have yesterday’s stale bread. Cheeky little monkey.”
In South Africa, Vervet monkeys are protected in terms of both national and provincial conservation legislation
These monkeys are as cute as a button, but they are also quite mischievous and living alongside them in a residential area can be a challenge. They have a highly developed sense of entitlement regarding any food in the house or growing in the garden, and will go to any lengths to get access thereto.
Our Monkey Helpline does a magnificent job of educating the residents on the issue of dealing with “unwanted” Vervet presence. We always try to keep in mind the simple rules of not feeding the monkeys, keeping fruit and other edibles locked in the fridge or cupboards, not leaving open doors or windows when the house is unattended, etc.
But (there is always a but), what do you do when you are having breakfast on the balcony or leaving the sliding doors open for a breath of cool air, and in walks a monkey to calmly lay claim to “his” share of the breakfast?
This little fellow very quickly adapted to our lifestyle and no amount of shoo-ing deterred him from his mission to join us for breakfast. Vervets usually fear men more than women, but this little guy was obviously a gender equality supporter and ignored the man of the house as easily as he did the women.
We tried squirting him with the hosepipe or a water bottle (and argued about mopping the tiles afterward!). Not a good solution.
The Monkey Helpline advised us to point a gun-like object at the monkey to try and scare him away, but the only qualifying object that we could think of was a camera … and see how that turned out!
In the end, we gave up our dream of a leisurely seaside breakfast and just gobbled our toast standing up at the kitchen counter, trying to ignore the reproachful eyes watching us through the closed glass doors. Eventually, our breakfast companion decided to move on and left us in peace.