Savanna Baboon (Papio cynocephalus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family:    Cercopithecidae
Size:    Height: 14 to 36 inches (36 to 91 cm)
Weight: 31 to 100 pounds (14 to 45 kg)
Diet: Mostly grass, fruit and plants, as well as small animals, insects, eggs
Distribution: Africa
Young:  1
Animal Predators:  Leopards, lions and spotted hyenas
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Group:  Troop
Lifespan: 20 to 40 years



·       Their scientific name means big monkey with a dog (cyno) head (cephalus).

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

·       Baboons have no fur on their bottoms.



These baboons have coarse fur that comes in a variety of shades, depending on where they live. In southern and coastal Kenya and Tanzania, they have a yellowish tinge and are called “yellow” baboons.” Those found in Uganda, west and central Kenya and Northern Tanzania are olive-green, and are called “olive baboons.” In South Africa, they are dark grey and are known as “Chacma baboons.” They all have dark coloured legs and arms, and their nose, lips, ears, hands and feet are furless and black. Males are usually larger than females and have large canine teeth.



Savanna baboons dwell mostly on the ground, and can be found in or near woodlands or savanna.


Feeding Habits

These baboons eat a wide variety of foods, including vegetation such as bulbs, roots, leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, seeds, shoots, twigs, bark and mushrooms, as well as sometimes insects, shellfish or small animals. Adult males sometimes prey on young antelopes, sheep and goats. 



Females are pregnant for approximately six months and give birth to one youngster. Young baboons ride on their mother’s backs when they reach the age of six to 12 weeks and do so until they are approximately 18 months, even though they can walk long before that. 



Savanna baboons live in groups that usually consist of approximately 30 to 40 individuals, but may have as few as eight or as many as 200, with both male and female members. Most of the female members are related and belong to the same troop their entire lives, while males join different troops from the ones they were born into and may even move from troop to troop. 



Savanna baboons are the widest ranging primates and are not a conservation concern at this time. 



All the World’s Animals: Primates. Torstar Books, 1985.