Savanna Baboon (Papio anubis
Baboons in Kenya are collectively known as Savanna Baboons. Two races occur:
1) The Olive Baboon (Papiocynocephalus anubis
), with an olive-greenish coloured coat. The male Olive Baboon has a well-developed cape on its shoulders. This race is found in western Kenya, in a line from Lake Turkana, southwards. They are often referred to as the Anubis Baboon, named after the Egyptian God, Anubis, whose skull was dog-like.
2) The Yellow Baboon (Papio cynocephalus
), with a yellowish-brown coat. This race is found from central Kenya, eastwards.
Baboons are found in both wooded savanna and mountainous or hilly country. Essentially, found near water and roosting areas; tall cliffs or trees. Longevity
Baboon mums have a single, pink-faced youngster after 180-day gestation period. Births can occur at any time of the year. For the first few weeks of its life, it clings to her chest hairs, when on the move. Thereafter, it climbs onto her back, eventually riding upright. Juvenile Baboons form their own groups within the troop after 5-6 months of age, play-fighting. Baboons live for around 30 years (45 in captivity). Predators
They cause human - animal conflict in farmed areas, when taking livestock, resulting in hunting by farmers. Those in game parks are protected. Other predators are the big cats, especially Cheetah
. If there are sufficient large male Baboons in a troop, these aggressive beasts can face-off a big cat. A lot of shreaking, snarling and showing their immense canines is usually sufficient to do the job. Behaviour
Baboons are highly social animals, living in troops of 15-100 individuals. Adult males, older than 5 years, are dominant over females and there is a strict 'pecking order'. The dominant male Baboon decides when the troop will move or rest. He also has sole mating rights with receptive females. A troop will typically have twice the amount of females as males and males will frequently swap between troops, working their way up the pecking order, to become dominant. During which time, fights are not unknown and these fast a vicious animals can inflict serious damage, sometimes resulting in death.
Baboons are active at the crack of dawn and spend time grooming, before foraging for food. They rest during the hottest part of the day, before feeding and grooming again and are roosting in trees, or hillsides before dark. Unlike other Monkeys, Baboons typically have a 'broken tail' and are unable to use it to assist climbing trees.
The purpose of grooming is two-fold. It promotes bonding within the troop and keeps fur and skin healthy. Like many primates, theirs is a caste system and grooming of high caste is undertaken by the lower caste.
Baboons are very vocal animals, with far-carrying barks, grunts, squeals, chattering and screaming. Over thirty vocalizations have been recorded. They also use a series of actions to signify intent, from lip-smacking to shrugging their shoulders. Diet
Baboons eat a wide variety of plant food, their mainstay being grass. They eat insects, usually found while grazing. They periodically eat fish, birds and meat, including the young of Antelope, Hares, Mice and Vervet Monkeys
, which are hunted by the adult males.
Baboons drink every other day, if water is available, but can last without it for long periods, by licking dew in the early mornings and also get water from their diet. Photographs
Olive Baboons: Photographed in Kenya's Nairobi NP, Masai Mara, Meru National Park, Olare Orok Conservancy and beside rural roads.
Yellow Baboons: Photographed in Kenya's Shimba Hills.