Thick-tailed Bushbaby - Otolemur crassicaudatus

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Lesser Bushbaby - Galago Senegalensis | Thick-tailed Bushbaby - Otolemur crassicaudatus


Afrikaans Bosnagaap
Shona Chimhavira Zulu Sinkwe Shangaan Xidweta

F 3cm
H 5cm

Distribution Dung
up to 5cm
May contain fragments of insect exoskeletons
Male/Female differences

Males are slightly bigger than females.

Habitat and Distribution

Prefers forest, thickets and savanna woodland and riverine forests.


Birds, fruit and acacia gum and insects.


 Twins (or litters of 1-3) are born after a gestation of 130 days. Young are born with fur on their bodies and open eyes. They are able to crawl around within 30 minutes but remain in the nest for three weeks. The mother carries them around in her mouth or on her back when she is trying to find food.

Behavior and Habits

Thick-tailed Bushbabies are active at night and tree-living. They shelter during the day in nests of fresh leaves in the densest foliage they can find and live in communities of several adults of both sexes and their offspring. They are agile climbers and powerful jumpers. They do not land on their hind feet like the Lesser Bushbaby does. They walk on all fours on the ground whereas the Lesser Bushbaby hops on it's hind legs. Individuals mark their territories with a gland on the chest, saliva and gland secretions of the anus. They also urinate onto their feet to allow the scent to be  transferred onto every branch the the bush baby climbs on, so advertising its presence. The urine on the hands and feet also give a better grip. They forage singly or in small groups.

Foraging Behavior

They prefer to eat fruit and gum and will come back every night as long as it lasts. Figs and other small fruit are plucked with the mouth. It is then carries to a comfortable branch  and hold it it one hand while eating. The insides of the fruit is eaten out and the peel thrown away. When found, tree gum is licked. It grabs unwary insects with the front paws and eats them.


They walk and run along branches like a monkey and walks on all fours on the ground with hind-quarters and tail in the air. It also jumps like a kangaroo or hops on the hind legs.

Social/Mating System

Usually seen in family groups of about 6. They sleep in trees during the day.

Maternal Care and Offspring

The baby is born in leaf nest and will stay in nest for 2 weeks after which it is strong enough to cling to the mother's back. After about 3 weeks the baby can follow the mother and start feeding by itself at 5 weeks.


Scent: Urine marks are left as well as secretions of chest and scrotal glands.

Sound: Thick-tailed Bushbabies give a wide range of calls. They sound uncannily like crying human babies - hence the common name.

  •  Theme song given by adults: raucous cry.

  •  Offensive threat: hack, spit, scream.

  •  Alarm calls: sniff, whistle, chatter and rattle.

  •  Distress call: high-pitched yell.

 Close-range calls

  •  Courting males: low-frequency crack calls.

  •  Contact-seeking calls: buzz, clicks and squeaks.

Dung and Field Sign

Dung may contain fragments of insect exoskeletons.


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