Baboons are like monkeys. But there are some important characteristics of baboons that make them special among several species under the primate order. You can read about the features of baboons below.
Some baboons are big and some are comparably small. Their size and weight depend on the species to which they belong. The small species of baboons are 50 cm in height and 14 kg in weight only. Whereas the largest species is close to 120 cm in height and 40 kg in weight.
Baboons contain long and dog-like muzzles. They have heavy and strong jaws. Their canine teeth are sharp. Baboons have close-set eyes.
The body of a baboon is covered with thick fur. Its muzzle isn’t covered with fur. It has a short tail. The tail doesn’t have any nerves in it. That’s why they can’t move their tails according to their wish.
The buttocks of a baboon contain hairless pads of skin. It is called ischial callosities. It helps them while sitting.
Range & habitat
As it is mentioned earlier, there are a total of 5 baboon species. Let’s know more about these species and learn about their range and habitat below.
Hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas)
Hamadryas baboons are found from the Red Sea in Eritrea to Ethiopia. They are also found in Djibouti, Somalia, southwestern Arabia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
These baboons live in semi-desert areas, savannas, and rocky regions. They find cliffs for sleeping and finding drinking water.
Guinea baboon (Papio papio)
Guinea baboon mainly lives in Guinea. However, Guinea baboons are spread across Senegal, Gambia, southern Mauritania, and western Mali. It is also called savanna baboon as they are inhabitants of the African savanna.
Guinea baboons’ habitat includes dry forests, gallery forests, and mainly bush savannas or steppes.
Olive baboon (Papio anubis)
Olive baboons are also called Anubis baboons. These baboons are native to 25 countries in Africa. The range of their habitat is from Mali to eastward up to Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Olive baboons’ habitat consists of savannas, steppes, and forests.
Yellow baboon (Papio cynocephalus)
Their habitat includes savannas and light forests.
Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus)
Chacma baboon is also popular as a Cape baboon. They are primarily found in southern Africa. These baboons’ range of habitat is spread across South Africa, Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique. The cape chacma lives in southern South Africa.
Baboons are foragers. They remain active throughout the day and night for finding food resources. They also feed on sheep, goats, and poultry which are found in the villages close to their habitats.
Behavior & lifestyle
Baboons are diurnal animals. They remain active in the daytime and sleep at night. However, some of the species remain active in day and night. They spend most of their time on land. But they sleep in trees, or on high mountain cliffs or rocks at night to keep themselves safe from predators. Predators like Nile crocodiles, leopards, lions, and hyenas feed on the baboons.
There are hierarchical troops in baboon society. They also have harems or groups containing one or two males, several females, and their offspring. The group of baboons is called a troop. A troop contains around 50 baboons. The number varies between 5-250.
Fun baboon facts
Here is a list of “Top 5 Fun Baboon Facts” that is exciting to know about.
- Baboons have existed for at least 2 million years. In 2015 researchers found a baboon fossil which is 2 million years old.
- In a baboon troop, males mate with females according to their social rank!
- Baboons can learn orthographic processing skills. By using the skill they can read.
- Most of the baboon species determine the hierarchy of the troop according to the matriline. Hamadryas baboons don’t show this trait.
- Adult male baboons use infant baboons as hostages or use them as shields during the fight for supremacy in a troop.
Meet the baboon
You can read about Ape vs Monkey: What Are The Differences? here.
Interested in Safari? You can read about 10 Iconic African Monkeys To Spot On Safari here.
Did you enjoy learning more about the baboon? Have you ever met this unique creature face-to-face? Tell us about your baboon experience in the comment section below. Because those who care share!
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- Fry, Douglas P., ed. War, peace, and human nature: the convergence of evolutionary and cultural views. Oxford University Press, 2013, pp.427-436. Sapolsky questioned if the Forest Troop would be able to maintain its social system if a large number of aggressive new males joined. However, he notes that there was never an opportunity to study this as by the 2000s, the Forest Troop had expanded its range and individual animals spend most of their time alone. This means that the troop has essentially fragmented and no longer functions as a cohesive social unit.