Different types of vervets vary in color, but usually the body is greenish gray or silver. The face, ears, hands, feet and tail tip are black, with a white band over the forehead and mustache.
Males are slightly larger than females and are easily recognized by their turquoise scrotum. The vervet monkey is classified as mid-size to large. The tail is lifted with the tip bent downwards. Arms and legs are the same size.
These animals measure 60 to 75 cm, plus 55 cm tail, and have an average life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.
The vervets inhabit forests, grasslands and plateaus, but their preferred habitat is acacia forests along streams, rivers and lakes. They are diurnal, sleeping and eating in the trees.
An omnivore, leaves and young shoots are the most important food, but barks, flowers, fruits, bulbs, roots and grass seeds are also eaten. The vegetarian diet is supplemented mainly with insects, bird eggs, and sometimes, rodents and hares. They rarely drink water.
Their socialization is complex, but stable social groups (also called troops) from 10 to 50 monkeys, which consist mainly of adult females and their offspring. The male vervet moves freely in and out of these groups. Among the troop, each adult female is the center of a small family group. Females who have reached puberty generally remain in the troop. The vervets spend several hours a day removing parasites and other materials from the skin of another vervet. In its hierarchy, the dominant gain maximum care. The family hierarchy is supported by expressions of threat, such as movements of the eyelids.
The vervets rarely risk more than 500 meters from the trees, since they are vulnerable to a variety of predators, including leopards, caracal, servals, baboons, large eagles, crocodiles and pythons.
The ancient Egyptians kept tailless vervets as pets. Some were mummified and buried.