Do's and Don'ts

Vervets visit your property for 2 reasons: it is in their territory that they patrol and they are looking for food as they move along. Hence, it is desirable to allow them to spend time in your garden and move on (especially since WE have taken away THEIR home).

:Here are a few simple ways to interact with them safely:

Remove fruit, cereals, bread or cakes from view, particularly near open windows and doors.

Vervets are quite habitual, so note what days and times they visit. During this time, ensure windows and doors are closed or guarded. Birds might warn you of their arrival.

When absent from the house, never leave windows and doors open.

Do not leave pet food, bird feeders or any food near the house, open doors or windows. This food attracts monkeys to your house.

Place any leftovers in a compost heap or bird feeders away from your and your neighbour's house. This will serve to distract the Vervets from your house or vegetable garden.

Spray around pillars with pet repellents or grease down pipes to prevent them from running on your roof.

Electric fencing is effective in protecting property or vegetable garden(use chicken wire to protect vegetables)

Use a wheely bin, dustbin with a clamped lid or bricks on the dustbin lid to avoid Vervets unpacking your garbage. Don't put left over food in your refuse bags for street collection ,rather compost.

Chase them by swinging a piece of plastic hose with holes cut in it. The sound discourages Vervets or squirt water at them. A water pistol is handy to keep in the kitchen. (Please do not use catties and stones – it can injure monkeys – rather use pieces of potato if you must use a catty.)

Do not use pellet guns or any other guns The pellets cause injuries that result in a slow and agonising death over days. This is unnecessary and cruel.– it is illegal to shoot with them in built-up areas (R20 000 fine or 1 year imprisonment)

Do plant indigenous fruit trees and indigenous plants in your garden to provide food for Vervets and birds, thus preventing them from looking for food in your house.

If the Vervets in your area are extremely hungry due to development, try supplementary feeding stations in a natural area away from houses, after obtaining information on how to responsibly do this. This will attract monkeys away from the houses. Hungry monkeys are desperate and will go to extreme lengths to get food thus making them bolder.


Small children must be supervised around monkeys as they might inadvertently get too close to a monkey or a baby monkey – this could be interpreted as threatening by the monkey – a potentially dangerous situation
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Will they attack my pet? They may attack your dog if your dog is threatening a baby monkey or a monkey that has fallen to the ground - otherwise they generally ignore dogs. Many more monkeys are killed by dogs than the reverse. Puppies could be vulnerable to adult male monkeys –it is best to keep them away from a troop of monkeys. They may chase a cat or ignore it, but will not injure it. There have been reports of monkeys grooming cats as they do buck.


Never corner a monkey where it feels threatened. If this accidentally happens, move out of its way, look away, and allow it to escape.

Don't shout at cornered Vervets. This frightens them, makes them poop and can make them unpredictable

If you come upon a Vervet inside your house, REMAIN CALM & QUIET, open a door or window nearest the animal, and use a towel to shoo the Vervet out or throw a lure outside (e.g. fruit or bread), step away from the point of exit, look away and allow the Vervet to escape.

Instruct your child carer on the escape strategy to be used in your absence. Instruct children that if they come upon a Vervet trapped inside, to REMAIN CALM AND QUIET, leave the room immediately, and call an adult.

Don't run away from a group of Vervets – they might run after you.

If Vervets move towards you – stand still and look away. They are probably just curious and might even try to touch you.

Do not stare at a Vervet, especially with raised eyebrows and widened eyes; it is interpreted by the Vervet as a warning of
future attack. If a Vervet, raises it's eyebrows, widens it's eyes, and makes a sound, it is warning you that it is feeling threatened. Simply look away and move away quietly.

Do not catch or touch monkeys, especially baby monkeys. The mothers are very protective

Do not allow children to eat in front of monkeys. If monkeys are extremely hungry, they might attempt to snatch the food from the child – in this situation the child and monkey's response would be unpredictable, resulting in a potentially threatening situation that should be avoided.

Do not keep monkeys as pets. Pet monkeys are often mentally disturbed because being caged is unnatural to them and very cruel – caged monkeys sometimes do bite.(all caged wild animals require permits)

Monkeys are wary of snakes so a realistic rubber snake will deter them - move the snake from time to time or the monkeys will ignore it.

Dogs are a deterrent, but should not be trained to attack them.

One or two strands of electric fencing will keep them at bay.

Insect screens on windows and doors will keep them out of the house. Plastic mesh is easy to install.

Vervets have a keen sense of taste and smell. Spray or brush fruit and vegetables with a liquid containing quinine, chilli, insect or pet repellent. Make sure it is non-toxic and that it can be washed off. Dry curry, chilli or tobacco powder also works well in the flower beds.

Prevent foraging in refuse bins by securing the lids with a strap or clip. Sprinkle Jeyes Fluid inside, outside or around bins. Refuse bins covered with shade cloth that has been treated with Jeyes Fluid will deter vervets.

Use nylon bird or hail netting over and around vegetables to keep vervets out.

Tin cans filled with stones and tied at intervals along a length of string which is attached to a fixed point can be yanked to create a noise and chase monkeys away.

Clear grease smeared onto overhead wires along the tops of boundary walls and fences and down pipes will discourage monkeys from trying to gain access to your roof or balcony.

If monkeys use overhead telephone or other wires to gain access to roofs, fit a length of hard plastic piping around the wire at the point where the vervets access it. The piping will roll around the wire making it impossible for them to walk.

Do not leave left-over dog food. If you feed birds, do so at random times to confuse the vervets.

Never feed Vervets by hand!

05/02/09
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