I know its a bit of a tease to start a post on baboons with an image of a leopard, but in much of East Africa these two species are paired as a result of their immense dislike for each other. Baboons would love to disrupt a leopards routine and do physical damage to the cat if they had the chance. The leopard feels the same way. On several occasions I have watched a well-hidden leopard wait along the path a troop of baboons uses to get to their night-time roost tree…and then grab a youngish baboon and run off with it. On other occasions I have seen a dead baboon in a tree, draped there as if to warn a troop that the leopard is ready willing and able to wreak havoc on the baboon troop. They dislike each other and relish the chance to do damage to the foe. The image is a bit off a reach perhaps but leopards always attract the eye…..
But this is more about the very social, ground-dwelling (for the most part), terrestrial primate we call the baboon; Olive baboon in Uganda and most of Kenya and Tanzania as well. There are five African baboon types; Sacred, Guinea, Olive, Chacma, and Yellow. In East Africa there are Olive and Yellow. In Uganda there is just the Olive Baboon. Males can weigh as much as 100 pounds and females just more than half that. This baboon species ranges from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east. It is sub-saharan and quite common. In appropriate habitat they will depend on the seeds from grasses or perhaps fruits as the main part of their diet. They are omnivorous and will eat insects and grubs and hunt smallish mammals including young impala and gazelles.
Baboons form male-dominated troops that can contain 40 or more members. There are dominance layers within both genders and age cohorts; the young of higher ranking females will dominate other youngsters. Coalitions and associations form between males as well as with, and between, females. It can be as complex as a seventh grade social. Males have a cape of heavy longer hair while females are shorter-haired over all. The young are rough and tumble little gymnasts. Females sexually mature at about six years of age and have a young about every 24 months following a six month gestation. The baby is nursed for six months or so and stays with the mother until it is about two years old.
One thought on “Uganda/4 … baboons”
Great post as usual, we’re lucky to have you as our teacher!!