Meet the Baboon: Its Habitat, Characteristics, and Behavior

December 11, 2019
These hardy "Old World" monkeys display complex social behaviors, and can live in troops.

One of the largest and most outstanding species of primate is the baboon. It’s a very peculiar animal and we’d like to talk to you about it today. Keep reading!

Despite being “just a monkey”, they do have many different characteristics. Let’s see what these are…

The Baboon: All you need to know

Habitat

Baboons live mainly in Africa and also in some parts of Asia. They usually inhabit the flat areas of the savannahs, deserts, and rocky plains. However, this may be because, unlike other primates, they don’t need to be constantly climbing trees for survival.

Egyptians used to domesticate baboons and would make them pick fruits from trees. Apparently, their name comes from the Egyptian god “Babi”.

Characteristics

Apparently, experts have scientifically proven that this animal shares 91% of their DNA with us. So, although they once originally classified them as apes, it wasn’t until later that they included them in the primate group.

It’s one of the largest primates as they can weigh up to 88 pounds! However, they have fine and long jaws as well as a fine face, which gives them an elegant look. Their teeth are very long, especially in male specimens. Scary!

Baboons’ hands have two opposable thumbs that help them handle objects very well and perform complex tasks. It’s possible to differentiate male baboons from female baboons very clearly because their sizes differ a lot. In addition, their fur is also different. For instance, the male specimen has long hairs on its face, as well as on its shoulders – something that the females lack.

A baboon’s nose is also very peculiar in the world of primates because, while most monkeys have a flat nose, the baboon’s is long and covers a large part of their face. This also marks a difference between males and females, since a male baboon’s face can be up to 7 times larger than that of females.

Their tail is carried in a characteristic arch and is always pointing upwards. Unlike other monkeys, baboons don’t use their tail at all, as they have the ability to walk on four legs. Other primates use their long tail to pick things up or move from one tree to another while climbing. However, when it comes to baboons, this isn’t the case.

There are several species of baboon: Papio anubis, Papio cynocephalus, Papio papio, Papio hamadryas and Papio ursinus.

A baboon eating from the ground.
Source: Idobi

Behavior

Baboon groups are totally different from other known species, primates or not. For example, in their pack, we can usually observe several females. Some of these females will even be carrying their offspring along. In addition, there’s also a dominant male and a young male baboon that isn’t allowed to mate.

However, this changes if the group lives in the savannah, as the dominant male shares his authority with other males who are normally related to him. There will also be females and other males but under the rule of this one dominant baboon.

The baboon’s natural predators are leopards, eagles, and lions, which will normally attack the baboon when they’re alone. They can also fall prey to crocodiles if they happen to be near rivers. Baboons are calm, but when attacked, they can prove to be fierce and aggressive.

Did you enjoy learning more about this interesting animal? Nature is always surprising us by displaying so much beauty through so many living beings that inhabit the earth. Although we may never see some of them in the flesh, knowing more about them feeds our curiosity, our knowledge and our love for animals.