Hamadryas Baboon (Papio hamadryas)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Cercopithecidae
Size:    Height: 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm)
Weight: 20 to 40 pounds (9 to 18 kg)
Diet: Mostly grass, fruit and plants, as well as small mammals, birds, insects and eggs
Distribution: Africa and Arabian Peninsula
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Leopard
IUCN Status: Lower Risk, Near Threatened
Terms: Group:  Troop
Lifespan: Up to 40 years



       Hamadryas baboons are also known as Sacred baboons because they was revered by the ancient Egyptians, who mummified them when they died.

       When two baboons meet each other they touch noses as a gesture of friendship.

       Baboons have no fur on their bottoms.


Males are silver-coloured and grow a large mane framing their hairless face, and a cape around their shoulders by the age of 10. Females and juveniles are brown-coloured with no mane, but their fur also eventually becomes silver-coloured. Older males who lose their harem to another male often lose their silver fur and grow in brown fur instead. Hamadryas baboons have a 15 to 24 inch (38 to 61 cm) tail. 



Hamadryas baboons are found on grassy plains and open, rocky areas of southern Arabia (Saudi Arabia and Yemen) and the northeast African countries Ethiopia and Somalia. The other four species of baboons all live in Africa.


Feeding Habits

These baboons eat mostly fruit and plants, especially grass, but they also sometimes feed on small mammals or birds, as well as insects and eggs. They forage for food mainly during the early morning and late afternoon, when the temperature is cooler. 



Not until they reach the age of seven do males start to reproduce. At that time, they begin to form a harem. There are several ways in which they attract females. One is by finding immature females and convincing them to leave their mothers and join them. Young males can also inherit females from their fathersí bands, or steal females from an unrelated maleís harem. Males are twice as large as females and use their size to intimidate them into cooperating. Mating can occur all year round. The female is pregnant for five to six months and gives birth to one youngster, who clings to the motherís belly. The mother has two nipples, similar to a human female and the baby often sleeps with a nipple in his mouth for the first few weeks. They are weaned at 18 months and are taught by the mother which plants they can safely eat. Youngsters are extremely playful and will wrestle with each other.



Hamadryas baboons live in small groups with a male leader and one to 10 females and their young. Sometimes two groups join up, especially when the two male leaders are related, such as a father and son. They move freely both through trees and over ground using all four feet, and are excellent swimmers. At night several groups of baboons join up to form troops of 100 to 750 animals while they sleep, for protection against predators. Baboons are considered extremely intelligent and trainable. They can recognize different colours and have an acute sense of smell. To communicate, they have a variety of different calls and expressions. During the heat of the midday sun, they stay in the shade and the females groom each other or the males.



Hamadryas baboons are extinct in Egypt due to human overpopulation and development, leading to the loss of their habitat. 








Sacred Baboon Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US