WATCH: Durban’s vervet monkeys caught indulging in Flamin’ Hot Doritos

Durban’s vervet monkeys are known to go scavenging for trash treats.

Durban’s vervet monkeys are known to go scavenging for trash treats.

Published Feb 21, 2024


Durban's picturesque coastal landscape is not just home to warm beaches and bunny chows but also a sizeable urban population of vervet monkeys, known for their mischievous antics and curious nature.

Recent events have put these playful primates in the spotlight after a troop was caught red-handed indulging in an unexpected, presumably stolen, spicy snack.

Video footage captured by Felicity Khumalo and posted on Tiktok, shows a troop of vervet monkeys raiding a packet of Flamin' Hot Doritos, causing amusement and some concern among commenters.


KZN! Whats going on here?

♬ original sound - Felicity Khumalo

The clip, which quickly went viral, depicts the monkeys eagerly devouring the fiery snack, seemingly unfazed by the spicy flavour.

According to PetShun, unlike humans, monkeys do not have a well-developed taste for spicy foods. Their taste buds have different sensitivities, and they are not able to fully appreciate the spiciness of chillies which may be why these vervets were scoffing down the Flamin’ Hot Doritos without skipping a beat.

Interestingly, there are only two known mammals that actively seek out spicy foods: humans and the tree shrew. These little tree shrews, native to the tropical rainforests of southeast China, share our love for spicy flavours.

Vervet monkeys, native to Southern Africa, are highly adaptable, known for their intelligence and resourcefulness.

These agile primates are skilled foragers and often venture into urban areas in search of food, sometimes leading to encounters with humans.

Vervet monkeys have a diverse diet that includes fruits, leaves, insects, and occasionally small animals.

However, their willingness to sample human foods poses a risk to their health and wellbeing, as certain items, such as spicy chips, may be harmful or unsuitable for their digestive systems.

The incident highlights the ongoing challenge of human-wildlife coexistence in urban environments, where interactions between humans and animals can have both positive and negative outcomes.

While vervet monkeys bring joy and entertainment to many residents, it's crucial to respect their natural behaviours and refrain from feeding them inappropriate foods.

IOL Environment