Two incidents of venomous snakebite on juvenile blue and Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni and C. m. albogularis)
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- Foerster, S. Primates (2008) 49: 300. doi:10.1007/s10329-008-0098-x
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Although rarely observed, predation is thought to be an important factor in the evolution of primate life histories and behavior. Here I describe two incidents of snake predation on Cercopithecus mitis guenons from Kenya. The first case involved a juvenile blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni) in the Kakamega Forest, which died following a bite by a Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica gabonica). The snake’s attempts to ingest its prey were unsuccessful. In the second incident, a juvenile Sykes monkey (Cercopithecus mitis albogularis) at Gede Ruins National Monument died suddenly after suffering symptoms that are characteristic of bites inflicted by black mambas (Dendroaspis polylepis). In both cases circumstantial evidence suggests that attacks occurred during extended play sessions in dense vegetation on or near the ground. If so, the observations support the hypothesis that play may be a costly activity.