Vervet Birth Witnessed

By Samara on November 24, 2014

This week we were lucky enough to witness the birth of an infant vervet! This is one of the most exciting things we as Verveteers have seen during our time at Samara, as usually the babies are born in the early hours of the morning, long before the sun rises.

On Thursday morning Penelope, one of the females on the River Side Troop, was acting strangely. She kept lying down and looking uncomfortable, constantly re-adjusting her position. We decided to watch her for a bit, and a while later we saw her water break. We then stayed with her for the next hour and a half, during which she got into a rhythm of having a contraction and then laying down, looking exhausted for a while, before having another contraction.

This is a very dangerous time for a female vervet. Giving birth is exhausting and leaves them very vulnerable to predators, which is why they usually give birth at night, when they’re high up in the trees and surrounded by other monkeys. So we were relieved when Penelope gave birth an hour and a half after she went into labour, and scooped
the baby up and began licking it clean immediately. Once she had cleaned the baby, and given it a first feed, Penelope then started to eat the placenta, something to give the exhausted new mother some energy for the long day ahead! Then, two hours after it all began, Penelope ran off to re-join the rest of her troop, with the newborn
attached to her stomach.

We feel very privileged to have witnessed such an amazing event, as I’m sure this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Here’s a picture of Penelope in the process of cleaning her baby, minutes after it was born.

Until next time,

Chloe and the Verveteers

Vervet Birth
Vervet Birth

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