Wild Fact #65 – The Opportunistic Primate – Yellow Baboon

Yellow Baboon

 

Cool Facts About The Yellow Baboon

  • As its name suggests, the Yellow Baboon is a species of baboon with a light brownish/yellow fur coat.
  • Natively found across central Africa, the five different species that compose the baboon group are the most widely spread of all the Old World monkeys, with the Yellow Baboon and the Olive Baboon being the most common
  • Yellow Baboons live together in troops that can contain anywhere from 20 to 200 individuals and are led by the dominant male.

 

On the Hunt

Although Yellow Baboons do climb and spend time in the trees, they are largely terrestrial animals, spending most of their time roaming the open Savannah in search of food.  Their opportunistic lifestyle means that Yellow Baboons are able to live successfully in habitats that other animals simply cannot survive in, including human settlements.  They are most commonly found around scrub, in open forests, and on the savanna plains where there are tasty treats to eat.  A watchful eye in areas of shade may reveal a Yellow Baboon troop resting before commencing their constant hunt for food.

 

So what is the food they are hunting for?

An omnivorous species, Yellow Baboons eat practically anything, but the majority of their diet is comprised of fruits collected from the surrounding trees, leaves, seeds, and flowers.  Despite their widely known messy eating habits and reckless disregard for forest tidiness, Yellow Baboons play an important role in seed dispersal throughout central Africa.  Yellow Baboons also supplement their diet with protein-rich invertebrates, such as insects and spiders, in addition to rodents and small reptiles.  They are also very opportunistic animals and will even eat larger animals should they get the chance.

Yellow Baboon

Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson (Wikimpedia)

 

Beware of Predators

Aside from their role dispersing seeds, Yellow Baboons also provide food Africa’s larger predatory animals.  Carnivorous mammals including Lions, hyenas, and leopards are the main predators of the Yellow Baboon, but their large group sizes coupled with spending night’s safety tucked away in trees means they can be a tricky meal for many predators to catch.  Between hunting them for meat and destroying their habitat, humans are the biggest threat to the Yellow Baboon.

If they are unlucky enough to come into contact with a hungry predator, the dominant male along with other high-ranking males will attempt to fend off the predator.  Similar to other primates, Yellow Baboons will first display their teeth so the enemy can see their size, meaning the often portrayed image of a monkey smiling is really just the opposite.  Yellow Baboons will also shout at the intruder and make aggressive gestures to intimidate it before chasing it away from their troop. I have a hunch that a troop of angry Yellow Baboons making threatening gestures would be enough for me to turn and high tail it out of there.

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