Baboon Facts

Chacma baboon

Latin Name: Papio cynocephalus ursinus

Lifespan: Both males and females live up to 18 years.

Weight: Males 32kg, females 15kg.

Chacma Baboons are found throughout southern Africa, except in the very arid regions.

Diet and Feeding:
Baboons are omnivorous feeding on a variety of fruits, leaves, grasses, roots, tubers, tree gum, insects, spiders and scorpions. They will also hunt prey such as reptiles, birds and other mammals.

During the Impala (Aepyceros melampus) lambing season, Chacma baboons have been known to run in and snatch the new-born lambs to feed off them.

Just below the tail, on the rump area are horny epidermal callosities. With females in oestrus, the callosities swell up substantially and serve as clear signal to the males of their breeding condition.

The dominant males herd and mate with the females in oestrus. The Alpha male does most of the mating.

Young males that have no dominant ranking within the troop have no mating rights. Mature females in most cases won’t give them the opportunity to mate unless the social bond between two is very strong. This type of mating is not tolerated by the dominant males and could prove very dangerous for the young male if caught in the act.

After a successful copulation from one male or a number of different males, the female then goes through a 6 month gestation period and gives birth to a single offspring. Females can give birth at any time of the year.

Youngsters are totally weaned from 6 to 8 months and share a very strong bond with their mothers. In the fist few weeks after birth the mother carries her baby in her hands and arms and as the baby grows it then holds onto its mother by the hair and hangs under her belly while walking. As the youngsters legs get stronger, it then moves onto the mothers back, using her raised tail as a back-rest.

Interesting Facts on the Chacma Baboon:

The canines of a mature Chacma baboon are longer than those of the lion.

Leopard will often hunt baboons, but young and inexperienced leopard can be killed by baboons when mobbed and bitten from different directions by a number of large dominant male baboons.

Young Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) and baboons will on occasion play together, but as adults baboons will hunt Vervet monkeys.

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