Baboon yawning

Baboon information

Baboons are amoungst the largest of primates. All species of Baboon have cheek pouches which enable them to grab food quickly and run with it, without the need to stop and chew. Baboons have large canine teeth and long snouts. Baboons' ears and faces have no fur. Their arms and legs (forelimbs and hindlimbs) are approximately equal in length, giving baboons their amusing "stoop" in movement. Baboons have tails which vary in length, but are generally long.

Baboons have thick and course fur the colour of which varies with species and habitat.  Baboons range from 50-60 cm in length.  Male baboons are up to twice as large as females and often have long hair around the shoulders, which makes them look larger still.

Baboons are ground-dwelling creatures and generally group in numbers ranging from 15 to 200 in size.

Baboons prefer to live on rocky plains or in hilly regions, although they can also be found in sparse forests. They usually feed during the day, although they have been known to raid farms at night.

Where the camera icon () appears in the table, click it for a picture of the species.  Likewise, where the name is underlined click for more information on that species.

Genus Common name
Papio anubis Olive baboon
Gelada baboon Theropithecus gelada
Papio cynocephalus Yellow baboon 
Papio hamadryas Sacred baboon  
fuscicollis saddleback tamarin  
What do baboons sound like?


Olive Baboon

Hamadryas (sacred) baboons.

Hamadryas baboons can live for over 35 years. They have a body length of around 75cm and tails of around 55cm in length. Hamadryas baboons weigh between 12 and 21kg.

Male Hamadryas baboons are grey in colour and have long shoulder cape; the females are olive brown without a cape.

The skin on the face and rump of the Hamadryas is pink. Infants however are born black, and develop their colour later on. Hamadryas baboons occupy areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and theYemen in arid sub-desert and savannah woodland up to 2600m.

This species of baboon feeds on grass, roots, tubers, fruits, nuts, invertebrates and small birds and mammals.

Hamadryas baboons have an unusual social structure. Each band is composed of clans. Unlike other baboons, males remain in the same clan for life. Males have a harem of females, which they defend from other males. The females are ruled by aggression and remain by the male's side at all times.

Young males acquire harems by befriending sexually immature females, who the other males are not yet interested in, and so are met with little resistance. Hamadryas baboons are diurnal and spend most of their time on the ground.

After a gestation period of 165-174 days, females Hamadryas baboons give birth to one infant.

Hamadryas baboons are rare and considered endangered.


Yellow Baboon

Yellow baboons are part of the Savanna Baboon family.

Yellow baboons can live for aound 40 years.  The length of an adult yellow baboon ranges between 61-72cm and they have a long tail of between 50-60cm.  They weigh between 12 and 24kg.

The yellow baboon has yellow-brown to yellow-grey fur and their cheek hair is lighter than the hair on top of their heads.Adult male yellow baboons have a mane.

Yellow baboons occupy southern equatorial and East Africa in areas of thorn scrub, savannah, woodland and gallery forest up to 1000m. They feed on grass, seeds, young leaves, fruits, tubers, cereals, invertebrates, young birds and small mammals. They are opportunist feeders and will eat whichever foods are most abundant.

Yellow baboons live in multi-male, multi-female groups with a distinct dominance hierarchy and overlapping territories. Observations have discovered that juvenile females inherit their mother's rank. The group's size depends on food availability and the level of predator threat in the area. They are diurnal and spend most of their time on the ground. While foraging, they may travel for 5-20 square kilometres (3-12 square miles) a day.

After a gestation period of around 170 days, females give birth to one infant at a time.

Human threats: The resistance of the yellow baboon to HIV has led to several medical experiments in the search for a cure.

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