Olive Baboons (Anubis Baboon) – Interesting facts about olive baboons
Olive baboons are the largest and the widest spread of all baboon species found in 25 African countries. The name is derived from its coat color which is a shade of green-grey at a distance and at a close range, its coat is multicolored, due to rings of yellow-brown and black on the hairs. The hair on the baboon’s face is coarse which ranges from dark grey to black.
Male baboons have a long-haired mane that extends on the chest down to ordinary length along the back. Besides the mane, the male olive baboon differs from the female in terms of weight, body, and canine tooth size. Males average 24kg and females 14.7kg. Like other baboons, the olive baboon has bare facial skin which is dark grey to black in adults, and an elongated dog-like muzzle.
Olive baboons tail appears broken, as it stands for the first quarter and after it drops down sharply.
Habitat of Olive baboons
Olive baboons are highly adaptable species that occupy a wide range of habitats. They are usually classified as savannah-dwelling, living in the wide plains of grasslands, steppes, and closed-canopy forests with consistent requirements of access to water and suitable secure roosting trees or cliffs.
Unlike other monkeys, the olive baboons spend much of their day time on the ground and nest in the trees at night for sleeping though at times they can be found up in the trees during day time. Mostly these are the young ones playing.
Behaviors of Olive baboons
Olive baboons are highly social animals that live in troops of 12-150 individuals. This troop is always made up of a few males, many females, and the young ones. Each baboon has a social ranking in the troop depending on its dominance.
Female dominance is hereditary with daughters having nearly the same ranks as their mothers and the adult females form cores of the social system. Related females tend to stay close together grooming one another and team up in aggressive encounters within the troop.
High-ranking females also appear to have a higher probability of miscarriages and low fertility rates due to stress over responsibilities.
Male olive baboons establish dominance forcefully. After reaching sexual maturity. A male olive baboon will leave his birth troop and join other troops. Adult males are very competitive with each other fighting for mating rights.
In the troop, higher dominance means better access to mating and earlier access to food. This is the reason why young males will aggressively fight to secure their positions in the troops. After losing a fight, the male baboon moves to another tribe.
Troops are not territorial and there is a considerable range overlap. Interactions between troops are usually peaceful and troop integrity holds but occasionally fighting occurs.
A single young with black natal coats and bright pink skin is dropped after a gestation period of about 180-185days. Birth occurs throughout the year but in some areas are aligned to the onset of the rains.
Females become sexually mature at 7-8 years and males at 10 years and the beginning of a female’s ovulation is a signal to the males that she is ready to mate. A male forms a mating partner staying close to her and protecting her against any other male trying to mate with her.
Female olive baboons are caregivers but also male baboons play a role in young caring mostly to the ones related to them.
Olive baboons are omnivores that can take a wide range of food from all levels of the environment including underground where they dig for roots, bulbs, mushrooms, and rhizomes. Their diet consists of plants and plant parts, such as leaves, fruits, seeds, flowers, and fungi as well as agricultural crops.
Olive baboons also hunt and feed on prey such as invertebrates, other primates, and small mammals as well as birds. Olive baboons forage on all levels of an environment looking for insects often by turning over rocks, and in the canopy of forests.
Other interesting facts about olive baboons
Did you know that female olive baboons form long-lasting social relationships with males in a troop that are none sexual known as friendships? This relationship benefits both the male and the female. Males benefit because they could potentially end up mating with a female friend in the future and females gain protection from threats to themselves and their infants.
Females with high social ranks forge friendships with multiple males at once to gain protection from unwanted males aiming at mating with them. Olive baboons are democratic when it comes to deciding the direction of collective movements.
Baboons communicate with different vocalizations and facial expressions. Adults give a range of calls. The roar grunt is made by adult males, the cough-bark and the cough geck are made when low flying birds or humans are sighted. A Wahoo call is made in response to predators and neighboring troops and during stressful moments.
Other vocalizations include broken grunting, series of grunts shrill barks and the most common facial expressions are lip-smacking, ear flattening, head-shaking among others.