African Primates- Baboons, Gorilla, Monkey
Africa hosts 51 primate species in habitats varying from forests to savannah woodlands
Easily seen primates are baboons & monkeys
Primates of Africa
With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions of the Americas, Africa and Asia
Baboons, vervet monkeys and chimpanzees are not dependent on trees and can survive in savannah and sub desert areas.
Primates have complex social organizations and the majority live in female-bonded groups.
A common feature among primates is evolution of the “primate
hand.” This is a opposable thumb that is used for climbing and
eating, and tool making in the case of
Baboons and apes have well-developed dexterity of the hand with the tips of the thumb and fore finger meeting at right angles.
In apes, the dexterity of the hands is very close to that of humans –and chimps are a good example.
Grooming is useful for social bonding and is effected by use of the mouth and hands.
The apes are a category of primates represented in Africa by gorilla, chimpanzees and bonobo. Genetically, they are the closest primates to man
baboon troop at play in Kruger National Park
The Chacma baboon are gregarious animals, occurring in troops of about 50 or more, sleeping, traveling, feeding and socializing. A troop can consist of 7 to 8 males and roughly twice as many females, juveniles and infants.
Baboons are the best adapted of the terrestrial primates and as such they are the most widespread African primate
Breeding - mating is frequent at very short bursts usually only
about 15 - 20 seconds.
The basic unit is a harem - one dominant male surrounding himself with a number of breeding females
Baboons will also supplement their diet with vertebrate prey: fish, lizards and young of ground nesting birds, and bird or crocodile eggs
Adult male baboons like exposing their genitals to impress or maybe intimidate other males
Daily Life - the days begins about 7 or 8 am when they come down from their sleeping places in cliffs or trees.
The day starts off with adults grooming each other while the
Baboons use over 30 vocalizations ranging from grunts to barks to screams.
Non vocal gestures include yawns, lip smacking and shoulder shrugging
Lastly more time is spent on mutual grooming - a crucial aspect to forming bonds among individuals as well as keeping the baboons clean and free of external parasites
Baboon Society is a strictly
The degree of dominance among ruling members of the clan is shown by the angle at which they hold their tails: the higher the angle, the more dominant the male.
Enemies & Defense Strategies
baboons are fierce fighters and in a group can confront and scare off predators such as leopard.
Males may confront predators like leopards or cheetahs by forming a line and strutting in a threatening manner while baring their large canines and screaming.
General - excellent climbers, primates are characterized by a complex brain, good vision and means of grasping.
Found throughout southern Africa - typically found in riverine vegetation and acacia trees. Also found in our garden and house where their diet tends towards bread and fruit from the kitchen. What a way to earn a crumb?
Vervet monkeys are long-legged, long-tailed, omnivorous monkeys.
Monkeys are generally social, though they exhibit occasional rivalry.
When attempting to intimidate a rival, a monkey stands at its tallest, with the effect that it looks bigger than it really is.
They move about in trees by running along the branches on all fours
Apes - Gorilla
Have very advanced social and communication systems.
They come close to humans in the use of facial expressions and body language; using both arms and hands.
Apart from mother-infant contact, apes groom each other in the usual primate fashion- rank determines who grooms whom
Touch is used extensively as part of their communications.
Apes are slow to mature, with the young reaching adolescence
at about the age of 8 years.
Generally all the apes are endangered and vulnerable.
The problem is that they occur naturally in very small densities and face immediate threat of habitat loss throughout their ranges
Bush babies have large, round eyes for good night vision and
bat like ears that enable them to track insect prey in the dark.
Life Expectancy - 14 years in captivity
They are active only after sundown.
They spend their days in hollow trees and forage among the treetops at night for insects and fruit.
Very agile in trees but awkward on the ground, hopping in a
frog like fashion.
During the day, they hide to avoid harm from eagles and large snakes
At Nata Lodge they feed them for a wonderful photo session - but please turn off your flash as it blinds the Bush Babies
himps are mainly found in rainforest and wet savannah - The chimp is our closest living relative, sharing 98% of our genes and much of our behaviour
females weigh between 30-40 kg, while males can reach 180 kg
They live in communities, with up to 100 animals sharing a common home range
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