Baboon - Papio cynocephalus ursinus

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Vervet Monkey - Cercopithecus aethiops | Baboon - Papio cynocephalus ursinus


Afrikaans Bobbejaan Shona Bveni,Gudo Tswana Tshwene
Photo Kobus Hugo

F 11cm
H 15cm

Distribution Dung

Male/Female Differences

Males can be distinguished from females by their larger size, longer muzzles and larger canine teeth. Thickened skin on the rump meet in the middle below the anus in males.

Habitat and Distribution

Cliffs or tall trees preferred for sleeping. With food, water and suitable sleeping place are available, baboons can survive almost anywhere.


They eat almost everything: grass, leaves, insects, bulbs, fruit, roots, flowers, insects, eggs, small vertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals.


Only the most dominant male have access to females. Gestation is six months. Single young, rarely twins, are born at any time of the year and are weaned at 6-8 months. Females reach sexual maturity at 6-7 years after which  they give birth every 2 years. The Baboon's lifespan 20-30 years. Leopards are the most likely predator.

Behavior and habits

Active during the day, sleeping at night in large trees or on high ledges. Very social, they live in troops of between 4 and about 100 baboons. Average troop size is 40, but are smaller in low-food areas. Females stay in the troop that they were born in but males will move from troop to troop. Like the vervet, there are separate dominance hierarchies  among the males and females. Males outrank females and daughters inherit their mother's rank. Male dominance depends on strength and aggression and and a high rank is held for only 6-12 months. Young ride under their mother's belly or on her back. Males protect infants.


Males make loud barking/booming sound. Others chatter and shriek. Fights are punctuated by shrill shrieks, screams, and squeals. Baboons are usually quiet, and social vocalizations are mainly soft grunts. A loud, two-syllable 'ba-hoo' bark is a general alarm call, made by adult males.

Dung and Field sign

Droppings are 10cm, irregular and roughly rounded; they are often artfully deposited on top of rocks. Fresh dung has a strong, distinctive (and very unpleasant) odor. Stones and rocks turned over in search of food.


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