Baboon always takes an umbrella with him to protect him from rain. One day, he was taking his daily walk through the bush. He hopes to enjoy a sunny day. Yet he struggles with the umbrella he has taken with him, because it won’t close. After a short while, he bumped into his friend, the vervet monkey.

The vervet monkey asked him: ‘My good friend. How strange to find you holding an umbrella over you on such a fine day. Don’t you want to feel the heat from the beautiful sun?’ Baboon replied: ‘ Yes, I would love to, but I am most annoyed. My umbrella is stuck and I would not think of walking around without it in case it rains. I would love to feel the sun on me. It’s a bit of a problem isn’t it?’

The vervet monkey said: ’There’s a simple solution. You only need to cut some holes in your umbrella. Then you can see the sun when it is out, and it will shine on you.’  ‘What a great idea!, Baboon replied, ‘I do thank you so much’. Without further ado, the baboon ran home and used a big pair of scissors to cut some holes in the top of his umbrella. When he returned to where the vervet monkey was, he said: ‘At last, I can feel the beautiful warmth of the sunshine through the holes. How delightful’.

However soon the sun disappeared behind some clouds. There were a few drops of rain  . . .  then it began to pour. The rain fell through all the holes in the umbrella, and within a few minutes the poor baboon was soaked to the bone.

The moral of this fable: Advice from friends is like the weather. Some of it is good and some of it is bad!

Source: A character education lesson in the Library by Ms. A.E. Blas / fables by Arnold Lobel.


Eight fascinating facts about baboons and vervet monkeys

  1. Baboons have a range of different vocalizations for communicating with each other. Over 30 distinct vocalizations including grunts and screams are used in addition to a plethora of non-vocal gestures such as shrugging and lip smacking. Vervet monkeys have around 36 distinct calls. It is widely believed that they have separate alarm calls for different situations. If an individual makes an alarm call for an incoming eagle, others will look up at the sky, while another alarm call for a leopard makes all other individuals scampering for the trees. Another unique aspect of their communication is the ability of mothers to recognize their infant’s calls.
  2. Unlike most monkeys baboons are terrestrial (ground dwelling). They spend most of their daylight hours on the ground, but they forage both in the trees and on the ground and they sleep in trees or on cliffs where they are safe from predators. The vervet monkey spends most of  time in the safety of the trees. Despite venturing into the ground in search of food and water, it rarely go beyond 400 meters of trees, which helps to escape from attackers. Yet the vervet monkey can swim too!
  3. Baboons are social animals that live in large groups that may be very different in size and may contain a few hundred members. Baboon group consists of men and women with their young and strong bonds by eating, sleeping and roaming together. During the day they divide into smaller groups of 4 or 5 females and young , which is led by a dominant male trying to keep other males away. The vervet monkey is a very sociable animals that live in groups called troops of 40-80, mostly made up of adult females and their offspring. males wandering between different troops.
  4. Baboon males are usually ranked in dominance by age and size while females are usually ranked by birth order. Social hierarchy in vervet monkey troops is very strictly followed. A juvenile’s status in a troop is determined by its mother’s status.
  5. Baboons in captivity have been known to live up to 45 years, while in the wild their life expectancy is about 30 years. Vervet monkey can survive 12 years in the wild and up to 24 years in the captivity.
  6. Baboons reproduces throughout the year. Vervet monkeys usually breed from April to June.
  7. Baboons as well as vervet monkeys are omnivorous animals, meaning they eat both plant matter and other animals in order to get the nutrition they need to live. They eat a wide variety of plant material, seeds and fruits, and supplement their diet with eggs, insects, birds, and small animals.
  8. In South Africa the vervet monkey is also called ‘blou ape’, meaning ‘blue ape’. They are called this because the male has a bright blue behind that is very visible to the eye.