Baboon

Baboons are extremely adaptable and live in a broad range of different habitats including deserts, savannah and grasslands. There are five different species of baboons: anubis or olive baboon, yellow, hamadryas, chacma and guinea, with the most common species being the olive and yellow baboons.

Appearance

Baboons are instantly recognisable and can be distinguished from other primates by their long snouts, powerful jaws and close set eyes. They also feature short tails and have rough areas on their large buttocks that are known as ischial callosities. The largest species of baboon is the chacma baboon and this species can grow up to 120cms and weigh as much as 40kg – that’s the size of a small person. The smallest species is the Guinea baboon with a maximum recorded size of 50cm and a weight of 14kgs. On average, baboons tend to live to around 30 years although the smaller Guinea baboons can often reach the age of 45. Unlike many types of primates, baboons tend to live on the ground and their arms and legs are roughly the same size. The females of the species usually grow to just half the size of their male counterparts. Another distinguishing feature of the males are their large canine teeth.

Diet and Lifestyle

Baboons enjoy a richly varied diet that consists of fruit as well as grass, roots and insects. Their diet can also include leaves, cereals, nuts and even small mammals and young birds. They use their large hands to dig in the ground for insects and roots when there is no other food available. Typically, baboons live in large, mixed sex groups and it is common to find as many as 80 young and adult baboons living together. The official name for a group of baboons is a troop, and troops of up to 200 baboons have been discovered in the wild.

Female baboons reach sexual maturity at between four and five years old, while for the males it occurs any time between the ages of four and ten. The gestation period for the baboon is just six months and like humans they tend to give birth to just one offspring at a time.

Although baboons spend most of their time on the ground, they can use their tails to climb trees in order to look out for predators. At the first sign of any trouble, baboons will signal to the other members of their troop through a system of barks, grunts and screams. Baboons are very intelligent animals indeed and manage to avoid predators and other types of dangers remarkably well. They are also incredibly strong and can be very fierce in a fight with their enormous teeth and unbelievable strength. As a result of this, and when combined with their opportunistic nature and adaptability, baboons have managed to thrive in the wild, unlike many other types of primates which are increasingly endangered.

Back to Wildlife List