Verbet monkeys on the Caribbean islands of St Kitts, Nevis and Barbados have developed a taste for alcohol and learned to steal hooch from the local beach bars there.
And just as unsupervised drinking leads to rowdy behaviour in humans, so too, with the verbet brigade. Party punch-ups, staggering and strutting, comatose repose….. It’s all here.
Researchers have studied 1,000 vervet monkeys from these parts and found the ‘social drinker’ among them in the majority.
The social drinker prefers alcohol diluted in fruit juice and will only drink in the company of other monkeys – and certainly not before the sun has reached the yardarm or even before lunch…..
Some 15 per cent of the little monkeys turned out to be ‘regulars’ who prefer their hooch neat or simply diluted in water, not wussy sweetening with fruit juice, please.
The researchers also found that the ‘steady drinkers’ turned out to do very well in social groups, often demonstrating leadership qualities. They’re very dominant and as monkeys go, can be functional alcoholics.
But as in human society, some five per cent of the monkeys drank too fast, got in scraps and drunk themselves comatose. The researchers discovered more young males in this category than females – perhaps more the opposite to the human condition then, where it’s the female of the species who seems to specialise in the latter condition…
Given limitless alcohol, this group will drink themselves to death within just three months.
Again reflecting society at large, some 15 per cent of the monkeys were teetotal, preferring little or no booze.
And again, reflecting the differences, at least the monkeys had a tropical sea view on which to gaze while coping with their hangovers the next day. It certainly beats waking up to the view of RS McColl and Sainsburys shopfronts with last night’s fish and chips bag staining through your shirt….