Seier, J., de Villiers, C., van Heerden, J. et al. 2011. The effect of housing and environmental enrichment on stereotyped behavior of adult vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops). Lab Animal 40(7), 218-224.
Little information is available on the response of vervet monkeys to different housing conditions or on the suitability of enrichment devices or methods for vervet monkeys. In this study, the authors evaluated the occurrence of stereotyped behavior in adult vervet monkeys under various conditions of housing and enrichment. The variables included cage size, cage level (upper or lower), enrichment with a foraging log, enrichment with an exercise cage and presence of a mate. The authors first determined the incidence of stereotyped behavior in captive-bred, singly housed adult female and male vervet monkeys. They then exposed monkeys to different housing and enrichment situations and compared the incidence of stereotyped behavior among the monkeys. The authors found that more females than males engaged in stereotyped behavior and that females, on average, engaged in such behavior for longer periods of time than males. Stereotyped behavior was most often associated with a small, single cage. The average amount of observed stereotyped activity in monkeys housed in a small cage was significantly lower when the monkeys had access to either a foraging log or an exercise cage. Stereotyped behavior was also lower in female monkeys that were housed (either with a male or without a male) in a larger cage. The least amount of abnormal behavior was associated with the largest, most complex and enriched housing situation. Males and females housed in cages on the lower level of two-level housing engaged in more stereotyped behavior than did monkeys housed in the upper level, regardless of the presence or type of enrichment provided.