Olive Baboon Fact File
Credit: Tumwinekenneth, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wild 30 years
Captive 40 years
The olive baboon is also known as the Anubis or savanna baboon and has the widest range in Africa of the 5 baboon species.
They are omnivores and mostly feed on fruits, leaves and roots. Meat products such as insects, eggs, small mammals and occasionally carrion are also consumed.
Olive baboons will form colonies with intricate social hierarchies. Females are the nucleus of the troop with males moving troops every 5 or so years to ensure that they do not interbreed.
These animals are considered common and stable but some threats such as habitat changes and hunting continue to threaten them.
Read on to learn more about these marvellous mammals.
What does the olive baboon look like?
An average olive baboon will measure 60-86cm (23.5-34in) long with a weight between 14 and 25kg (30.75-55lbs). Males may be up to twice the size of the female.
Across their body they are covered with speckled, olive-green fur. The face is bare of fur and colored black. Their rump is also bare of fur. They have ischial callosities which are the rough patches of skin on the rump which help to prevent them becoming sore when sitting in tree branches.
They have orange-brown colored eyes. Their face features a powerful jaw with long, pointed canine teeth inside.
Their body ends with a tail which can add between 41 and 58cm (16-23in) to their body.
An average olive baboon measures 60 to 86cm (23.5-34in) with males weighing in at 24kg (53lbs), significantly larger than the females which weigh in at 15kg (32lbs).
What does the olive baboon eat?
These animals are omnivores. Their diet includes fruits, leaves, roots, insects, eggs, lizards and occasionally prey up to the size of a deer fawn. They will also feed on carrion if they see the kill.
They are able to consume prickly pear by rubbing them along the ground to remove the prickles which would make it painful.
Dominant individuals have first access to any prey caught by the prey. If a low-ranking individual makes a large kill they still may not receive any of it.
Near areas of human habitation they will eat crops and garbage.
Credit: Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Where can you find the olive baboon?
Africa is the native home of the olive baboon. Here this species is the most widespread species of baboon.
They can be found in the following countries – Benin; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; The Democratic Republic of the Congo; Côte d’Ivoire; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Togo and Uganda.
Parts of their range overlap with that of the hamadryas baboon and the yellow baboon. Some of them may create hybrids.
In 1972 a populations escaped in to the wild in Spain but they were eventually recaptured and moved to various zoos.
What kind of environment does the olive baboon live in?
They make their home in forest, savanna, semi-desert, scrub, shrubland and grassland habitats.
Olive baboons have shown the ability to persist in areas where the habitat is fragmented and in cultivated areas.
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How does the olive baboon produce its young?
Higher ranked males within the group have access to mating rights with most of the females. Breeding can take place year round.
Females give birth after a 180 to 185 day gestation period.
It takes 300 to 480 days for the young to be weaned.
Young are colored darker than the adults. During this phase they are accepted in to
the group. Once they take on the lighter, adult coloration males are driven away and female take up a spot at the bottom of the troops social hierarchy.
While caring for their young the females will use the tail like a leash to keep under control.
Females will take on the place behind their mother’s in the hierarchy. Males must leave and challenge for a position within another troop. Breeding males move troops every five years to prevent inbreeding with their children.
Sexual maturity is reached between 8 and 10 years old.
What does the olive baboon do with its day?
These animals live in groups which average 20-50 members. Some have included 100 members though. These groups are known as a troop and are led by a group of males.
To reinforce social bonds within the group they will groom one another which also helps to keep their fur clean.
Olive baboons are active during the day. They begin their day by sunbathing at the sleeping site. This is either a tree, rocky outcrop or cliffside. They then spend much of the daylight hours eating before returning to the sleeping spot around dusk.
A range of vocalizations are produced by them including barks, growls, grunts, screams and coughs.
Inside the mouth are cheek pouches which they can use to store food while they are foraging.
Credit: SajjadF, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Predators and Threats
What is impacting the survival of the olive baboon?
Natural predators of the olive baboon include lions, leopards, African wild dogs, hyenas, chimpanzees, servals and crocodiles.
Olive baboons are considered common with a stable population.
Unfortunately their population is still threatened through agriculture and development along with hunting for bushmeat. Hunting poses as issue for humans as they can spread disease such as ebola.
This species is also known as the Anubis baboon or the savanna baboon.
Their common name is taken from the gray-green color of their fur.
Credit: Public Domain
Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.
Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
Wallis, J. 2020. Papio anubis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T40647A17953200. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T40647A17953200.en. Downloaded on 06 October 2021.
Mpalalive.org. 2021. Mpala Live! Field Guide: Olive Baboon | MpalaLive. [online] Available at: <https://www.mpalalive.org/field_guide/olive_baboon> [Accessed 7 October 2021].
Africa Freak. 2021. Olive Baboon Facts & Info: A Guide to the Skilled African Foragers. [online] Available at: <https://africafreak.com/olive-baboon> [Accessed 8 October 2021].
Abrahams, S., 2021. Olive Baboon. [online] New England Primate Conservancy. Available at: <https://www.neprimateconservancy.org/olive-baboon.html> [Accessed 8 October 2021].
Torontozoo.com. 2021. Toronto Zoo | Animals. [online] Available at: <https://www.torontozoo.com/animals/Olive%20baboon> [Accessed 8 October 2021].
Seneca Park Zoo. 2021. Olive Baboon | Seneca Park Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://senecaparkzoo.org/animal-pages/olive-baboon/> [Accessed 8 October 2021].
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