When the vervets we study have an inter-troop encounter, interactions between troops are generally limited to either staring at one other from a distance, or aggressive actions such as vocalizing, chasing, or biting. However, we do sometimes see more friendly behaviors.
Recently, we’ve noticed a strange pattern – Gunther, a subadult male from the River Side Troop, and Schmee, a subadult male from the River Bend Mob, have twice been seen embracing each other, in what appears to be a non-aggressive manner. They are both natal males, meaning that they are still part of the group they were born into, so it is unlikely that they have previously had much contact. Often when males are getting ready to disperse they will behave non-aggressively during inter-troop encounters, and instead simply watch the other group, probably in an effort to get a sense of whether it would be a good group to transfer into. So, it is not so bizarre that Gunther and Schmee would be somewhat friendly toward one another.
However, it is interesting that this is the only pair of males we’ve recently seen affiliating with one another during an inter-troop encounter, and it’s happened more than once. Perhaps soon one or both of them will switch troops – time will tell.
Both of the interactions between Gunther and Schmee happened too quickly for us to snap a picture.
Until next time
Rachel & The Verveteers