As the end of summer in South Africa draws near, lots of people are taking advantage of the sunny weather while they still can. And so too are the vervet monkeys. Filmed at a home near Durban, these monkeys seem to be having one heck of a pool party (all they're missing are the margaritas).

Vervets swimming in Westville!!!! First for me!!!

Posted by Michael Derek Rout on Friday, 29 January 2016


The clip was posted to Facebook last week by Michael Derek Rout, who says this is the first time he’s witnessed the monkeys swimming.

Although it may come as a surprise to many South Africans who are more accustomed to seeing vervet monkeys leaping through the trees, these primates can (and do) swim. However, not all backyard swimming pools are suitable for a vervet get-together.

It’s likely that this troop regularly visits the area and is aware of any potential threats. Monkeys must be vigilant and need to watch each other’s backs to avoid any looming dangers, so the extended bouts underwater and lack of alarm calls here suggest that the troop feels safe. Overhanging trees provide an escape route should they need one. 

So why do monkeys swim? Much like their human cousins, they do it to cool down, and to engage in a playful activity. In this instance, the behaviour seems to be restricted to a few individuals, possibly the males and/or younger monkeys. Sound familiar?

Cannonball Ron Burgundy 2015 02 01


Top header Image: Julian Mason