Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monkeying around.

One thing I've been curious about for awhile now is the green vervet monkeys on the island. They're adorable, there's no denying it.

But from a purely academic standpoint, they're also a treasure trove for research. Ever since reading about their system of alarm calls for different predators, I have had a burning question. There are no snakes anywhere on St. Kitts. Mongoose were imported to kill them all, as too many workers in the sugarcane fields were being bitten.

I wondered, "Would the island monkeys still react to a snake alarm call?" Is this an intrinsic behavior, or a cultural learned behavior? If it's learned, has enough time passed for enough generations of monkeys to have never heard the snake call for the behavior to undergo extinction? Or has it been adapted to another terrestrial predator, such as feral dogs?

I am so close to finding an audio wave file of the snake alarm and putting a dish of sweet potato out in my front yard and seeing what happens. It wouldn't be terribly difficult, there's a family of monkeys that frequent my area.


  1. If possible, get video of the experiment. I am excited to see the results.

  2. with decrease in the use of such call/ alarm, a make shift call for strange sightings/ call for safety could b used (not a psychologist, just my take on it). would b interesting to see wat ur findings are