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A Warthog and the Monkey Dentist

19 January 2015 | Darryl Lampert Book Accommodation

Vervet Monkey on Warthog's back

Vervet monkey on a warthog's back

In 2005 my wife and I visited Lokuthula Lodge in Victoria Falls. And bore witness to some amazing symbiosis between a warthog and vervet monkeys.

Situated just 4 km from the mighty Victoria Falls, Lokuthula is surrounded by 80,000 hectares of unspoiled African bush and borders the unfenced Zambezi National Park. The camp is not fenced and the animals roam freely. 

One afternoon whilst relaxing next to the pool, a female warthog appeared on the far side of the pool under the shade of some trees. She was just standing around waiting. A short while later a couple of vervet monkeys arrived and one of them skirted around her and hopped onto her back.

At this stage I took out my camera and started shooting. The vervet on top of her started grooming her back and neck. A couple of minutes later, the second vervet started tweaking her tail and nipples. The warthog lay down and the grooming continued.

 Two Vervet Monkeys

Vervet monkeys tweaking warthog's tail

Monkeys Grooming Warthog

Vervet monkey's grooming warthog

They were grooming her entire body with both hands and teeth. One of them moved to her face and soon had its hands inside her mouth checking her teeth and tusks. A third vervet arrived to assist the "dentist" and at times both of them had their hands in her mouth. The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes, when the warthog clearly felt her treatment was at an end and got up and left! 

Warthog laying down

Vervet monkey's taking their grooming role seriously!

Monkeys as dentist

Vervet monkey's playing dentist