baboon is a medium-sized primate which is located in many different places in Africa and in a few locations in Arabia. They are highly sociable and extremely intelligent mammalian animals that are able to bond with other members of the herd that can last for life. They adapt quite ease in the middle, although its population is being reduced due to hunting and deforestation.

Babuino
Picture of a baboon

Features

Baboons are strong vertebrate primates who spend their day to day mostly on the floor. They have a long snout and large head, where they keep food in bags located on their cheeks. In general, males are almost twice as large as females, although their size varies according to their species. They have very sharp teeth that allow them to defend the group against predators.

Their hair is long and reaches the shoulders, they have characteristic spots and their face is hairless. Its curcusilla (rump) has a hard skin padded protection. They also have a curvature at the end of their spine that makes them characteristic. Baboons have retractable thumbs that allow them to manipulate tree branches, leaves and roots.

They almost always go in groups looking for food, they are animals with an insatiable appetite and they feed from small insects and fruits to hares and antelopes.

Habitat

Baboons inhabited all of Africa and much of Arabia, and although they are still very common, their natural habitat is decreasing alarmingly. They have a wide range of habitats such as sheets, rocky plains, deserts y tropical forests provided they have a good supply and quantity of water.

They are adaptable, or can find a way to live, in almost any habitat, as long as they can find water and food. Baboons spend their time primarily on the ground, but they can climb trees to sleep, keep watch, and escape predators. Their predators include humans, leopards, lions, and cheetahs.

Baboon types and location

If you travel to the dry savannas of Arabia or the forested savannas of West Africa, you may encounter baboons in their natural habitat. There are five species of baboon in total. Four of them, the chacma, the olive, the yellow and the Guinean, live in the African savannas. The hamadryas baboon lives on the shores of the Red Sea in Africa and Arabia.

Chacma

The largest of the baboon classes, the chacma baboon also known as the Chacma baboon, black baboon or Papio ursinus, ranges from yellow-gray to black in color and lives in southern Africa south of the Zambezi River. Its habitat includes wooded areas, semi-deserts and subalpine grasslands of the Drakensburg mountainous area. They can be found in the African countries of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Like other species, the chacma spends much of its time on the ground, but it can climb trees to sleep or get away from trouble.

Babuino Oliva

The olive baboon, also known as Anubis baboon or Anubis baboon is characterized by its greenish-gray color, it is one of the largest baboons, occupying western and eastern Africa. They make their home in a variety of environments, including open grasslands through wooded areas. They also live in moist forests near the areas where people have settled. The Anubis baboon in Ethiopia lives in all areas, from the bottom of the valley to the plateau, about 600 meters high. The Eritreans live in the arid and humid lowlands alongside forests and savannas.

Yellow baboon

The yellow baboon (Papio Cynocephalus), smaller than the olive and the chacma, lives in central Africa from the west coast to the east coast. Its habitat is distributed in Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. The yellow baboon lives in savannas, open woodlands, and wooded areas. They tend to stay close to water sources such as swamps and groundwater in forests due to the limited amount of water that their territories receive. This species of baboon can also live near rural agricultural areas where people have settled.

Guinea baboon

The Guinea baboon (Papio papio) is the smallest of the species, with males characterized by a coat of hair. Its habitat is mainly in West Africa. This particular baboon species inhabits the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. They spend most of their time on land and can travel long distances. Guinea's baboon population has declined as agriculture and logging have destroyed their habitat.

Hamadríade

The female hamadryad baboon, or Papio Hamadryas is brown, the males are silver gray. Their home is the African and Arab coasts along the Red Sea. This species of mandrill is found between cliffs in the rocky areas of the desert and in the grasslands of the semi-desert areas. During the day, this species scatters in search of food and gathers in small groups at night. Hamadryas baboons live in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen.

Food

Baboons are omnivores and opportunistic eaters and, fond of crops, they become destructive pests for many African farmers. They eat fruits, grasses, seeds, bark, and roots, but they also have a taste for meat. They feed on birds, rodents and even larger mammal offspring, such as antelopes y sheep.

Reproduction

Baboons, like many other primates, do not have a specific time of copulation, they reproduce at any time and season of the year, although there is a higher rate of breeding when spring arrives. When the female is ready to mate, the alpha male will fight the other baboons in order to mate wildly with the female. Although the female will mate with many different males.

Its gestation (viviparous) has an approximate duration of 6 months and they only give birth to a young that instantly clings to the mother. Young males are allowed in the group until they shed their coat about 8 weeks later where they are expelled from the group and have to make a living for themselves until they find a group where they can test their skills and be accepted. The females, however, remain with their mother and sometimes become inseparable. The females live in the same group where they were born.

Predators

Baboons are among the largest of all monkeys, and they can be extremely dangerous when they feel the need to be. They almost always live and travel in large groups known as "troops." Males can become strong, strongly built, athletic, and relatively large animals, and are very aggressive, loud, and very intimidating when provoked, scared, or excited. . They possess very sharp and long canine teeth that can easily tear flesh, and they yawn to display their deadly weapons as a warning or deterrent to their enemies.

Larger males will fiercely defend the rest of the troop against most threats from predators. It is not surprising that baboons have very few natural predators, but, they are not untouchable, since they share their natural habitat with other dangerous animals that see them as food. Baboons are constantly watching their surroundings for danger from predators, and some of them will even be tasked with acting as lookouts for the rest of the troop.

Once a predator is seen or detected, a baboon will set off an alarm with calling sounds such as loud barking or screaming to warn or alert other baboons in the troop of the threat. Then all of a sudden the monkeys will try to escape quickly by simply running away, or by quickly climbing very high in the nearest trees, where they feel most secure from danger. Or the troop may choose to mount a defense against the predator instead. Here are 6 natural predators of baboons in the wild:

Leopards

The leopards they are the main predators of baboons in Africa, and baboons sometimes form an important part of their diet. Leopards lead solitary lives, being primarily active at night, and are highly opportunistic hunters. During the day, baboons are very active, very alert, and have clear, sharp vision in the light, and if they come across a leopard it usually ends up with the cat being chased away by the larger males in the troop. Leopards usually avoid baboons during the day, and at this time it is very risky and difficult to hunt them, but they can catch a lone baboon that has to stray too far from the safety of the rest of the troop.

Leones

The leones they also feed on baboons; not as much as leopards, but they hunt monkeys at any time of the day or night. Typically, lions catch baboons by silently stalking them on the ground using long grass, brush, and undergrowth, and then launch their attack at the right time. Like their cousin the spotted cat, baboons are not normally the preferred prey of lions, big cats prefer large hoofed mammals as prey (buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, etc.), but as long as their usual prey is rare, baboons are certainly on the menu for big cats.

Cocodrilos

Un crocodile The Nile can kill and will eat almost any animal it finds in the water, and that definitely includes baboons. Baboons must drink water at least once a day or two, so they have to regularly make very dangerous trips to the banks of rivers, lakes, and water holes to get water.

While the baboons go to drink water, the crocodiles silently swim near the shores completely submerged underwater, virtually invisible until they get close enough to climb out of the water with their immensely powerful jaws and grab the monkeys in a tight death grip. If the baboons are crossing the water, the crocodiles simply swim up close and then drag the monkeys underwater to death from drowning, facilitating food. Baboons can swim, but they are completely defenseless in the water against crocodile attacks.

Hienas

The hyenas They prefer to hunt the larger hoofed mammals of the African savannah as their prey, as do lions, and tend to hunt in packs. Baboons are not the favorite prey of hyenas, hyena predation of baboons is uncommon, and hyenas generally do not disturb a troop of baboons, largely ignoring the monkeys whenever one or the other pass by. But on rare occasions, hyenas will prey on baboons if good opportunities arise (especially spotted hyenas).

Hyenas have very powerful jaws that can easily crush bones, and they are very strong and large enough predators capable of killing baboons, even alone. But many times, a single adult male mandrill is quite capable of fending off a solitary hyena and driving it away. However, against a herd of hyenas, the threat of predation to monkeys is much greater.

Pythons

The pythons African rock snakes are one of the largest and longest snakes in the world, they are not poisonous. They can grow to a length of 6 feet or more, with huge, robust bodies packed with thick muscles, and they kill their prey by squeezing them to death (known as constriction) before eating them by swallowing them whole. Adult pythons can capture, kill, and eat prey many times their own size, and they have been known to feed on baboons.

Rock pythons typically catch baboons while they are unaware, sleeping in tree branches, resting on the ground, or while they are busy foraging for food. Some venomous snakes have been known to kill adult baboons with the venom from their bites while the monkeys sleep or rest in trees (but they usually don't end up eating the baboons, especially the adults, as they are too big to be swallowed by the poisonous snakes of Africa). Baboons found dead in trees with no apparent injury or signs of disease are often presumed to have died from venom from snake bites. Adult baboons can easily defend themselves against a threat from any snake, but only if the snake has been seen well in advance.

Águilas

Usually it is the babies and young baboons that are prey of the eaglesAs they can be easily transported, but on very rare occasions, sub-adult baboons, and even some adult baboons, can be taken as prey by these eagles as well. Most of the time, adult baboons can successfully defend themselves against eagle attacks, deterring eagles from attempting to prey on the more vulnerable young or baby baboons, or simply being driven off altogether. Still, most adult mothers with baboons are not at risk of their young being swept away, and they usually quickly grab their babies and hug them tightly once a large eagle has been sighted nearby, especially if they are It deals with any of the three species mentioned here.

State of conservation

The baboon is a highly adaptable animal, capable of exploiting different environments. Even when human clearing growing areas or developing infrastructure on land, they are able to exploit new food resources, including agricultural products and waste.

Popular culture

Lion King is a 1994 movie, a character from that franchise is a baboon named Rafiki, who lives in a tree called Baobab house near the king's cave. His character is characterized by being an old wise man with shamanic gifts. He is a recurring character who advises Simba (Leon), Timon (Meerkat) and Pumbaa (Phaco) in the Lion King franchise.

Rafiki is a baboon from The Lion King
Mythical scene of Rafiki creating the painting to draw Simba on his tree.

List of other interesting animals