There is always something to see when you spend time with baboons, maybe some youngsters playing in a tree or one of the adults dishing out some discipline. This is a species that, through immense intelligence, has created an incredibly complex social system. So, even though baboons are known to be naughty and damage causing animals they are also capable of many awesome feats and really do deserve some respect!

1.The term Oligarchy doesn’t just apply to wealthy business people. In fact, baboons use a very similar social structure whereby a group of large and dominant males call the shots.

2. It really is a case of “My! What big teeth you have!” as dominant males will often show off their formidable canines, which can be bigger than a lions, in order to get the subordinate members of the troop to back down.

3.There is a also a very apparent pecking order amongst the female baboons in a troop. Females tend to inherit their status from their mothers, but this also changes according to a female’s reproductive condition. Those that are on heat gain rank and those that currently have a baby are elevated the most.

4. Baboons are born mostly black with pink faces and ears. After birth they cling to their mothers stomach for at least the first 4 weeks of life. From this position they are able to access an almost continuous supply of milk.

5. After the first four weeks the youngsters are far more able, and can therefore rather ride on their mothers back. This could explain why baboons have a very characteristic kinked tail as babies are often observed using their mother’s tail as a back rest.

6. Much like us humans, baboons learn all there is to know by watching how their parents and other members of the troop go about doing things. This is paramount if they are to know where to find shelter and sustenance.

7. Baboons, like elephants, have learnt that they can dig for water in a dry riverbed. The holes that these primates have dug often assist other species who now stand a better chance of finding drinkable water.

8.Impalas and baboons have a symbiotic relationship and are often seen foraging together. The baboon’s forage in the trees above the impalas and often drop fruit and branches. This relationship also leads to a great security system whereby the baboons will alarm call if they see a predator and the impalas will do the same.

9. The impala/ baboon relationship is not always perfect especially when it comes to calving season for the impalas. Baboons are omnivores and will sometimes betray the impalas trust by snatching and eating one of the brand-new baby impalas!

10. Generally baboons are more than happy to spend their days in a blissful routine of early morning playing and grooming before setting out into the wilderness to forage for fruits, seeds, grass and invertebrates as they make their way to a waterhole. After which they slowly make their way back to their place of dwelling, foraging as they go, just in time for another play and grooming session before the sun goes down and they retreat to the canopies of the large trees they love to sleep in.

Written by Luke



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