Lesser Bushbaby - Galago Senegalensis

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


Afrikaans Nagapie
Shona Chinhavira Tswana Mogwele Shangaan Mhimbi


Distribution Dung
Contains fragments of insect exoskeletons
Male/Female differences

Males are larger than females


Woodland savanna with acacia trees as a food source of gum; never seen drinking water.


Invertebrates and acacia gum which is staple food in winter. Insects are located by sight and sound and caught with the hands. Very active and visits about 500 trees per night looking for gum.


One or usually two young are born in summer after a gestation of 120 days but may have litters twice a year depending on food availability. Babies are weaned at six weeks and carried around by the mother. They are left to cling to branches while she forages in the vicinity. Thin-tailed bushbabies are often killed by genets, snakes, large owls,  raptors and ground carnivores.

Behavior and Habits

Thin-tailed bushbabies are active at night and feeds mostly in trees. They also foarage on the ground. They are very agile climbers and consumate jumpers, usually landing on the hind feet whereas the thick-tailed bushbaby lands on all fours. On the ground it hops on its hind legs. During daytime they sleep in holes in trees, platforms built in dense foliage or sometimes in empty birds' nests. The family groups will sleep together but look for food independently.

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.


When it leaps from branch to branch, it holds its arms overhead and with the tail held upright to maintain its balance.  When sleeping, thin-tailed bushbabies cover their heads with their hands and or curl up and sleep with their heads resting on their hands. Ears are folded to close to its head to conserve body heat.

Social/Mating System

The first hour after leaving the nest they can call to each other. They are quiet during the night and meet up just dawn and socialise until it is time to sleep. Young males wander off to other groups while females normally stay with their family.

Maternal Care and Offspring

Babies are born on a leafy platform with their eyes open and crawl to the mother and cling to her. After 4 days babies can use their hands like adults and groom themselves after 1 week. After 2 weeks they can run along branches but the mother will still carry them in her mouth across gaps in trees. Babies will start eating gum at 3 weeks and catch insects when 1 month old.


  • Contact with family; territorial advertising:  Bark.

  • Alarm calls: sob, spit-chatter.

  • When attacked:  Fighting chatter.

  • Alerting calls: grunt, sneeze, yap and wail.

  • Distress call: high-pitched scream.

Dung and Field Sign

Dung contains fragments of insect exoskeletons.

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