This troop visited us yesterday, and took the opportunity to refresh themselves with a bit of a pool party in our waterhole.
They’re appealing creatures, with very touching (pardon the pun) habits like grooming each other, conspicuous care for their infants, and absolutely wild follow-my-leader games among the troop’s adolescents. The dominant male takes the part of a long-suffering father, and occasionally snarls at the teenagers’ unruly antics, but it’s more out of convention than in genuine anger. The suggestion of the human is inescapable.
And they’re relentlessly brazen. Leave a door or window open and unattended, and the vervets will send a light-fingered scout or two to test your defences. Any cupboard left ajar will be investigated, any fruit bowl will be plundered. They’ll do it even if you’re in the room with your back momentarily turned.
If surprised in mid-larceny, a vervet miscreant will assume an expression of wide-eyed, open-mouthed shock that would do justice to even the most over-the-top pantomime performance. It’ll freeze in this outrageous pose for just one comic moment, and then be gone in less than a heartbeat.
But this group was more interested in splashing about in the cool water than in burglary. They waded, dived, dunked each other completely under, and generally had a ball. They even appeared to hold a baptism.
They may be the most shameless bandits, but it’s impossible to not like vervets. Artful Dodgers, every one.