Bushbaby [Senegal Galago] (Galago senegalensis)
Senegal Galagos are a small size, 14" (35cm) long, plus a long bushy tail, 9" (23cm). Very distinctive large round brown eyes with dark rings. Large ears which are rounded and thin, with 4 distinct 'folding lines' and ears are folded when at rest or dashing through vegetation, to protect these delicate structures. Their ears work like a bat's and insects are tracked in the air, in addition to using their eyes. Their coats are fine, with a wooly appearance, grey to brown in colour. Their underparts and chin are pale cream, sometimes tinged with orange. All 'fingers and toes' have nails, except one on the hind foot, which is claw-like and used for grooming. They also have two tongues, the lower one is used exclusively for grooming purposes.
Senegal Galagos are seen throughout Kenya, in woodlands, particularly where Acacia are present. Also along riverine areas where there are woodlands.
Senegal Galago females always reject the first advance by the male. Thereafter, they mate regularly for a a few hours. After a gestation period of 120 days, between one and three youngsters are born, weighing less than half an ounce (10gm). She weans them for around 6 days, after which time she carries them by mouth to near her feeding ground. At 2 months, the youngsters feed independently. Males leave their Mother's territory, forming batchelor groups, from which the dominany male mates with all females in his group's area. Females defend their own areas, along with their offspring. In captivity, a Bushbaby has been recorded to live for 16 years. Much less, in the wild.
Senegal Galagos are predated by Eagles, larger Owls & Snakes and small cats (Genet, Serval etc;).
Senegal Galagos are tremendous jumpers. Both from tree-to-tree and up-and-down, like a Kangeroo. They are nocturnal and mainly seen in trees, jumping from tree to tree. They live in family groups of between 2 to 8, defending a territory of around 3 hectares. Given an area of bountiful food, many hundreds may be found within a square kilometer. They mark their territory in an unusual way, by urinating on their hands and feet, the smell then being left on all the trees they visit.
During the day, they sleep together in leafy nests or the holes of trees. They may even be found in barns or attics. They forage alone at night, but keep in touch with child-like screams and chattering. All together, over 25 different calls have been recorded, including a rallying call for a group to assemble at the nesting place.
Grooming is very important in Senegal Galagos social structure. While females reject offers of grooming by males, each sex grooms each other and social order is respected.
Senegal Galagos are partial to the resin of trees, fruit, insects and other invertebrates. Very occasionally, they will also take small birds and lizards. They adapt their diet to the seasons. Being nocturnal, their large eyes can see in the dark, their bat-like ears have tremendous hearing and they snatch flying insects unerringly.
Other Senegal Galagos Facts
Senegal Galagos have thick pads on their hands and feet, which allow them to cling to even smooth, upright places. Their legs and arms fold up while jumping through the air, being flung out at the last split-second and the pads on their digits cling straight-away to a branch or trunk, sucker-like.
Images taken in Kenya's Meru National Park.
Keywords:animal, bush baby, bushbaby, kenya, senegal galago, wildlife