Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Facts - Baboons!

Today, we share baboon facts!  Sweet Pea and Pierre are Olive baboons and Nan is a Hamadryas baboon.  While in Kenya, it was special to see wild baboon troops on the Maasai Mara. Sadly their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss, poaching for bush meat and the illegal pet trade.  Sweet Pea is very maternal and loves to groom for hours.  

Sweet Pea enjoys a nap on a giant stuffy!
Pea especially likes large stuffed animals and faux fur to play with and sleep on, as you can see in the photo. She also likes puzzles, taking things apart and putting them back together again.  Pierre is a handsome male who is highly social and supportive towards Sweet Pea and his neighbours.  They enjoy special treats like sugar cane and foraging in the straw for raisins and berries and their pools in the summertime.  Nan or “Nannie” as she is affectionately known, loves her lettuce and enjoys being outside and basking in the sun.  At this time of year, a special treat for all the monkeys is the tender shoots of dogwood which we clip and put in their enclosures.  Nan even put her lettuce aside this past Saturday to chew on the red branches!

Statue of the god Toth
·          Ancient Egyptians considered the baboon to be sacred and related them with the god Thoth. The Egyptians believed him to be the inventor of spoken and written language, astronomy, geometry, and medicine. 
(Photo: Museum of Antiquities)

·          There are five species of baboons:  Chacma, Olive, Yellow, Guinea and Hamadryas.

·          Baboons are “Old World” monkeys who live in arid and semi-arid conditions like the Savannah. Hamadryas baboon live in cliffs, so Nan has many platforms and walkways.

·      They are ground dwellers and do not have prehensile tails.  Pockets, a capuchin, is a “New World” monkey with a long prehensile (gripping) tail that helps him climb (and paint!)

·       Baboons are omnivores and will eat plants, insects and small animals. Sweet Pea particularly looks forward to raw or boiled eggs!

The "divine" Nan
·          Baboons have a complex social structure made of dominant males and females from the same families.  It is observed and carried from one generation to the next.

·      The baboon’s gestation period is six months and they typically have a single offspring.  If it is female, it will have a lasting bond with the mother and will remain in the same troop all of their lives.  If it is a male, upon sexual maturity at six years of age, he will leave the troop to create his own troop or join another.

·       Baboons have large canine teeth and will “yawn” to display them passively.

·          Some of their vocalizations include grunting, screaming and barking as they call to their troop members to warn or to get a sense of where they are.  At night, they will long-call.  There are ten different documented sounds.

·          You can become a Foster Friend to Sweet Pea, Pierre and Nan by visiting our website! Foster by April 20 and get a bonus monkey handprint to go with!

Pierre enjoying sugar cane

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