Baboons

12th June 2010

Baboons are endemic to the African and Asian continent and the Arabian peninsula. Baboons belong to the family of Old World monkeys (monkeys of Africa or Arabia or Asia which have non-prehensile tails and nostrils close together) and they are from the genus known as Papio.
 
There are five species of baboon which include the Olive Baboon (P. anubis), the Chacma Baboon (P. ursinus), the Guinea Baboon (P. papio), the Yellow Baboon (P. cynocephalus) and the Hamadryas Baboon (P. hamadryas).

One of the important facts about baboons is associated with a couple of primates which show a close resemblance to them. They are known as the Mandrill Baboon (Mandrill sphinx) and the Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus gelada). These two are closely related to the baboon species but are not actually true baboons.

Olive Baboon Facts

The most widely spread of all baboon species is the Olive Baboon, also known by the name 'Anubis Baboon'. It is also one of the largest of its species and is characterized by rings of yellow-brown and black hairs, which make its coat a multi-colored one.
 
Habitat: Savannahs, steppes, deserts and forests mainly constitute the habitat of these creatures.
 
Physical discription:  An average male Olive Baboon weighs 24 kg and is 70 cm tall, while a female measures 15 kg and 60 cm. 
 
The Olive Baboon

Habitat:: has earned its name for being the most widespread species of its kind due to its opportunistic behaviour towards feeding.

Diet: This omnivore has the capability of foraging food in almost all kinds of environment which include on, above and even beneath the ground. The diet of this mammal include invertebrates, small mammals and even small deer, sheep and goats. On the vegetarian side, it fancies feeding on a large variety of plants, leaves, grass, roots, bark, flowers, fruit, lichens, tubers, seeds, mushrooms, corms, and rhizomes. Regions which are dry and arid may provide this primate with insects, spiders, and scorpions for its diet.

Enemies: Lions, leopards, African wild dogs, hyenas, chimpanzees and crocodiles are its natural predators.
 
Chacma Baboon Facts
 
Another one among the largest and the heaviest of the baboon species is the Chacma Baboon, also known as the Cape Baboon. It has a dark yellowish-gray to dark brown and almost black fur, with large prominent canines. What distinguishes this primate from others is its long, downward sloping face.
 
Habitat: Its habitat consists of woodland, grassland, acacia scrub and semi-desert regions. These may include areas near a freshwater source, small hills, seaside cliffs and high altitude mountains.
 
Physical discription: A male and female Chacma Baboon is known to reach a length of of 1.5 m and 1.1 m, and weigh upto 15 kg and 33 kg respectively.
 
Diet: Like other baboons, this species is an omnivore and the baboon diet consists of insects, seeds, grass and small vertebrate animals. This creature is also known to exhibit scavenging qualities and rarely gets involved in hunting large animals.

Enemies: Talking about its predators, leopards and cheetahs are the common ones.
 
Guinea Baboon Facts 
 
This is the smallest of the baboon species and has reddish brown hair, a hairless, dark-violet or black face.
 
Habitat: The baboon populates areas of dry forests, gallery forests and adjoining bush savannas or steppes.
 
Physical discription: The average length of this animal comes up to be 27 inches and a weight of 39 pounds.
Diet: Like its cousin, the olive baboon, this one is known for having a varied diet, which may consist of buds, roots, grass, greens, seeds, tubers, leaves, nuts, cereals, insects, and small mammals.
 
Interesting fact: One interesting fact about this species is related to the improvement of habitats. This is because it is known to dig for water and spread seeds in its waste, which in turn encourages plant growth.
 
Communication: A variety of vocalizations and physical interactions make up for the mode of communication of the Guinea Baboon. These are not only used for communicating with other of its kinds but also for predators.
 
Status: The Guinea Baboon has been enlisted as a "near threatened" species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), due to its small range and habitat destruction.

Yellow Baboon Facts

The Yellow Baboon has characteristics which may mimic those of the Chicma Baboon, except its size which is smaller and the muzzle that is not as elongated.
 
Habitat: This baboon habitat comprise of savannas and light forests and its diet includes different kinds of fruits, variety of plants and insects, and anything that is edible.
 
Physical discription: A male Yellow Baboon has a measurement of 84 cm in length and 27 - 44 kg in weight. A female is about 60 cm and of the weight of 14 - 17 kg.
 
Other: This species has been found to have three sub species of its kind. They include typical Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephalus cynocephalus), Ibean Baboon (Papio cynocephalus ibeanus) and Kinda Baboon (Papio cynocephalus kindae).
 
Hamadryas Baboon
 
The Hamadryas Baboon, also known as the Sacred Baboon, has its habitat in rocky desert areas and the sub-desert regions that have grass.
 
Physical discription: A male Hamadryas Baboon often, is of the size twice as that of a female. The male is characterized by its silver-white appearance and a prominent cap. The female, on the other hand, lacks the cap and is brown colored.
 
30 inch in length and 45 lbs in weight are the average statistics of a male baboon.
Diet: About feeding, its diet consists of grass, roots, seeds, reptiles, insects, small mammals and crops.
 
Status: Natural nemesis include leopard and lion and it has been declared as "least concern" species by the IUCN.
 
Mandrill Baboon
 
Although known as the Mandrill Baboon, as mentioned, it is only closely related to baboons. It is known to be the largest of all monkeys.
 
About: Talking about the Mandrill Baboon facts, what is most catchy about this primate is the colorful face and brightly hued rump of the male. A female has a duller color. In fact, this monkey is known to be most colourful than any other mammals. These colours tend to become brighter when the creature becomes excited.
 
Physical discription: The male may averagely weigh 25 - 35 kg and grow up to 81 - 90 cm. A female average 11 - 14 kg in weight and 56 - 66 cm in length.
 
Diet: Fruits, roots and animals such as insects, reptiles, and amphibians are all included in the menu of the Mandrill Baboon.
 
Habit and enemies: Tropical rainforests and occasionally woodlands are populated by this species. Leopards and pythons, apart from humans are its natural predators.
 
Gelada Baboon
 
Another very close relative to baboons is the Gelada, also known as the Gelada Baboon. Its main characteristic feature is its bright red hour-glass shaped patch of skin on its chest. The female has a lesser pronounced appearance of the same. However, during a female's oestrus (defined as a state of heightened sexual arousal in non-human mammals), the patch brightens up.
 
Diet: While all baboons are omnivores, this relative of theirs is particularly, a herbivore. It feeds on green blades, seeds, rhizomes, stalks, flowers and a variety of fruits.

About: 50,000 to 60,000 species of the Gelada is known to exist and its has two subspecies called Theropithecus gelada gelada and Eastern Gelada (Theropithecus gelada obscurus).

Fun facts: Among the fun baboon facts for kids, one is that the tail of this baboon looks like as if it is broken. Its upright posture over the rump for the first quarter and sharp drop thereafter, gives it a broken appearance. 

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