Friday, March 16, 2012

Baboons and Monkeys


Male olive baboon and infant at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
Baboons are terrestrial (ground dwelling) and are found in open savannah, open woodland and hills across Africa. Their diet is omnivorous, but mostly herbivorous; yet they eat insects and occasionally prey on fish, shellfish, hares, birds, vervet monkeys, and small antelopes. They are foragers and are active at irregular times throughout the day and night. They can raid human dwellings and in South Africa they have been known to prey on sheep and goats.
Their principal predators are humans, the lion, both the spotted and striped hyena and the leopard. They are however considered a difficult prey for the leopard, which is mostly a threat to young baboons. Large males will often confront them by flashing their eyelids, showing their teeth by yawning, making gestures, and chasing after the intruder/predator.
Baboons in captivity have been known to live up to 45 years, while in the wild their life expectancy is about Baboons.


A troop of Vervet Monkeys in South Africa feeding on maize and other seeds

Social structure

The vervet monkey is diurnal and social; living in groups of up to 72. There is a clear order of dominance among individuals within the group.

Alarm calls

The vervet monkey uses different calls upon detecting different types of predators, including leopards, snakes and eagles. Infants appear to have an innate tendency to make these alarm calls, and adult monkeys seem to give positive reinforcement when their young make the right call, by repeating the alarm. Mothers have been reported to punish young giving the wrong call

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