All You Need To Know About The African Bush Baby

African Bush Baby

The adorable bush baby is a cuddly primate that is native to Africa. Imagine visiting Kenya for a wildlife safari, and having the wildlife come and visit you at your lodgings.

These gentle, furry creatures forage for their food at night and they love to eat seeds, nuts, tree gum, fruits and flowers. While vegetarian fare seems to be the diet of choice; a bushbaby will also happily eat a few tiny animals and insects.

Bush babies are also known to enjoy the taste of fermented fruit and might just finish off that partial glass of wine you left on the table.

In fact there is a Swahili term "kama komba" that is often used in Tanzania. Literally translated it means to act "like a little bush baby". Locals use the phrase to describe someone who has been drinking alcohol until they are "3 sheets to the wind".

The Nightlife Of Galagos

Galagos means little night monkeys in the Afrikaans dialect and the term is the scientific name for bush babies.

These gentle animals are seen during the nighttime hours, and it is very rare to catch a glimpse of one moving about during the daylight.

These creatures are so popular that there are tours available that take visitors to the habitats where these little nocturnal beings live.

One incredible safari I must say!

Bush babies have large eyes which makes it possible for them to see well in the dark. They also have exceptionally fine hearing abilities. They use their strong back legs to jump and they are very skilled jumpers indeed.

These animals can leap more than 5-6 feet in a vertical direction. They are agile, speedy climbers and their long tails give them added balance. Almost all of their tiny digits have nails at the tips, but there is no nail on the hindfoot's second toe. This is where you will see the ‘toilet claw" that these animals use for their grooming needs.

The gestation of Galagos babies lasts from 110 to 133 days and when they are born their eyes are still only half opened. The mother Galagos will care for her baby and after about a week she will carry it with her by using her mouth. While she searches for food she will place her young one on some nearby branches.

Matriarchal Society

The bush baby world is a matriarchal society and females only share their territory with their young. As soon as they mature the young males will strike out on their own, but the female offspring will stay in the area where they were born and form strong bonds with other female relatives.

Males keep to their own separate territories but the regions do have some overlapping borders. A dominant male will establish a certain territory and be able to mate with all of the female Galagos that live there. Young males, or those who are less assertive, often form transient single-sex groups and live quietly together.

Communication between these animals is done by vocal calls and by urine marking of paths.

When daylight is approaching each group of Galagos has a unique call that is sounded.

The members of the individual groups will meet and bed down together in a nest. Galagos may sleep in nests that are made from leaves or branches; but many prefer to simply group together in a hollow log or tree.

Find out more about the African bush baby - sign up to my newsletter!