letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces


Vervet monkeys

The Puzzle Bush: Tough, pretty and nutritious

Among the first spring flowers are the delicately scented lilac-hued blossoms of the shrubby Puzzle bush. Continue reading “The Puzzle Bush: Tough, pretty and nutritious”

The iconic strelizia

This well-known South African plant probably needs little introduction as it is cultivated in many countries across the world. I was surprised to learn that it is the floral emblem of the city of Los Angeles. Continue reading “The iconic strelizia”

Family story

The story of survival depends on the strength of family bonds that endure, as epitomized by these Vervet monkeys, even in a hostile world. Continue reading “Family story”

Growth in these times

Like this vervet monkey mom, all parents strive to protect and nurture their babies, and work to sustain their healthy growth. And this vervet mom, like so many parents, knows that the world can be a hostile place, even for babies. As this new year begins, hostility does not seem to be in retreat. Continue reading “Growth in these times”

Aloes and gardens, Samangos and forests

Flowering aloes attract many birds and insects, and in the case of the Ashburton Aloe Festival, many visitors too are attracted to this annual event held by the Lower Mpushini Valley Conservancy. Continue reading “Aloes and gardens, Samangos and forests”

Gracefulness of the maternal bond

One very hot day summer’s a small group of vervet monkeys visited our garden. Continue reading “Gracefulness of the maternal bond”

Vervet monkey mom snatches a second baby from its mother: Weekly photo challenge – Rare

It is rare to capture an encounter like this in a suburban garden and so it seems appropriate for it to be included in the Rare: Weekly photo challenge. Although vervet monkeys are attracted to infants and often solicit permission from monkey mothers to touch or even hold their infants, I think this encounter is rare as the mother is approached by another mother who is already nursing her own baby. Also she takes the baby without permission. To find out what happens see the full photo essay in the previous post at letting nature back in


Monkey mom snatches a second baby: A photo essay on how the story unfolds in my suburban garden

This post is in the form of a photo essay documenting what happened after a vervet monkey mother, nursing a baby of her own, suddenly took a smaller baby from another mother. 

Although it is common for juvenile and female monkeys to take an interest in infant monkeys and to want to touch and even hold the infants, this is the only time I have seen a monkey with her own small baby take another baby and without permission. This may be unusual or rare behaviour, and it is rare to capture it on camera in a suburban garden. Continue reading “Monkey mom snatches a second baby: A photo essay on how the story unfolds in my suburban garden”

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