Getting Wild with the Olive Baboon


PHOTO: William Warby/Flickr
PHOTO: William Warby/Flickr

Olive baboons (Papio anubis) are about 20 to 40 inches in length and can weigh up to 82 pounds. This type of monkey has a snout-like mouth and long tail. They also have yellow-brown fur with bare face, hands, feet and buttocks. Olive baboons live primarily in the tropical habitats of African countries and usually seek shelter in cliff sides or in tall trees where there is food and water nearby. Baboons are omnivores, eating plants and berries, but also insects and even small antelopes.

Agricultural expansion and human settlements have led to major habitat loss for baboons, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. To adapt, they raid crops, which then causes farmers to view them as pests and hunt them down. Since they are one of the least likely species in Africa predicted to become extinct, baboons are listed as a “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), however, they are still in danger of being hunted. Many of Africa’s national reserves protect baboons to ensure they stay off the extinct species list.

Did you know?

  • In some cultures “baboon” means “ugly man.”
  • We humans share 91 percent of our DNA with baboons.
  • Scientists have found they have the same tendency toward competition and aggression as humans.
  • The buttocks of baboons are hairless and padded to make it more comfortable for them to sit for long periods of time.
  • There are five types of baboons: the Olive Baboon, Guinea Baboon, Chacma Baboon, Yellow Baboon and Hamadryas Baboon.

Omnivore – An organism that eats both plants and other animals

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