Baboons are some of the
largest monkeys in the world

  • Spread the word


Conservation Status:

Least Threatened

  • Baboons use more than 30 distinct vocalizations
  • There are 5 species of baboon
  • Troops can have up to 300 members

Quick Facts

Scientific name

Olive baboon (Papio anubis)
Yellow baboon (Papio cynocephalus)


50 to 100 lb.


14 to 30 in. at the shoulder

Life span

20 to 30 years


Savannas and woodlands




6 months


Humans, leopards, cheetahs


Where do baboons live?

Baboons are found in surprisingly varied habitats and are extremely adaptable. They generally prefer semiarid habitats, like savannas, but some live in tropical forests. The major requirements for any habitat seem to be water sources and safe sleeping places—either in tall trees or on cliff faces.


Tags: Benin, Burkina Faso, DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, East Africa, West/Central Africa, Congo, Kilimanjaro, Regional Parc W, Cameroon View Africa | Habitat

Physical Characteristics

What are baboons?

Baboons are some of the world’s largest monkeys. There are five species of baboon—olive, yellow, chacma, Guinea, and hamadryas—scattered across various habitats in Africa and Arabia. The baboon, like other Old World monkeys, does not have a prehensile (gripping) tail, but it is still able to climb when necessary. All baboons have dog–like noses, powerful jaws, sharp canine teeth, and thick fur. The male baboon also has a ruff—a longer mane around its neck.

Behavior & Diet

The baboon is an opportunistic eater.

Baboons are opportunistic omnivores and selective feeders. Grass makes up a large part of their diet, along with berries, seeds, pods, blossoms, leaves, roots, bark, and sap from a variety of plants. They also eat insects and small quantities of meat, such as fish, shellfish, hares, birds, vervet monkeys, and small antelopes.

They like to hang out in groups.

Baboons sleep, travel, feed, and socialize in groups of about 50. These groups usually consist of seven or eight males and about twice as many females plus their young. The family unit of females and juveniles forms the core of the troop. Male baboons will leave their natal troops as they mature and move in and out of other troops.

  • Baby Baboons
  • Baboon Billy Dodson
  • Baboon Billy Dodson
  • Baboon Mohamed Hashim
  • Baboon Billy Dodson

The baboon’s major predators are humans.

Humans kill baboons for a variety of reasons. Baboons can be killed because of their tendency to be viewed as agricultural pests as well as for their skins—this is more common with the hamadryas baboon. Use of baboons in laboratories and medical research has also increased.

Baboons are losing their homes.

Habitat loss due to overgrazing, agricultural expansion, irrigation projects, and overall human settlement growth is a threat to baboons.


Our solutions to protecting the baboon:

  • Engage communities.

    African Wildlife Foundation works with communities to develop appropriate sustainable solutions—using technology, like the Geographic Information System (GIS) to identify threats and lead to more effective conservation plans—or agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on best practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate.

  • Make the connection between conservation and education.

    AWF works with rural communities living in close proximity to wildlife in order to build schools in exchange for practicing conservation. In Tanzania, we rebuilt Manyara Ranch Primary School and equipped it with a full technology lab and a conservation curriculum. By working with communities to provide tangible incentives for conservation and educating future generations in conservation principles, we are able to foster a culture of conservation.


Will you show baboons your support?

With your help, AWF can continue working on critical projects like creating sustainable agricultural solutions using technologies, such as GIS, and building conservation schools. Donate for a cause that will help with wildlife conservation and ensure the baboon does not become an endangered species.

  • Congo Shipping Project Charly Facheux
    Congo Shipping Project
    Growing the DRC's agricultural options

    Civil war has led to poverty and environmental degradation. 

    Following years of social turmoil and civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was left without a...

    Read more
    All Projects

Get Involved

Become a member

Join African Wildlife Foundation as a member for just $25. Your partnership is vital to our mission to protect Africa’s most precious - and imperiled - creatures.

Join Now

  • Spread the word