Bush Baby | African Wildlife Foundation

Despite its small size, the bush
baby is exceptionally vocal

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Bush baby

Conservation Status:

Least Threatened

  • Have up to 18 distinct vocalizations
  • There are 4 subspecies of bush baby
  • Native to more than 25 African countries

Quick Facts

Scientific name

Galago senegalensis

Weight

5 to 10 oz.

Size

7 to 8 in.

Life span

Up to 14 years in captivity

Habitat

Woodlands and bushlands

Diet

Omnivorous

Gestation

4 months

Predators

Eagles, owls, genets, and large snakes

Habitat

Where do bush babies live?

Bush babies are found throughout East Africa as well as in woodlands and bushlands in sub-Saharan Africa. They generally do not inhabit areas above altitudes of 6,500 feet. Most often, they live in tree hollows that provide shelter. Sometimes, they construct nests in the forks of branches, but these are not as commonly used as are natural holes. Bush babies prefer trees with little grass around them, probably as a precaution against wildfires. They will also seek shelter in man-made beehives.

Tags: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kilimanjaro, Virunga, East Africa, West/Central Africa View Africa | Habitat

Physical Characteristics

What is a bush baby?

The lesser galago, also called a bush baby, is one of the smallest primates, about the size of a squirrel. Its plaintive cries and cute appearance may account for the name "bush baby." Bush babies have large, round eyes for good night vision and bat-like, delicate ears that enable them to track insect prey in the dark. As they jump through thorn bush or thick growth, they fold the ears flat against their heads to protect them. They fold them during rest, too.

Behavior & Diet

The bush baby enjoys a varied, seasonal diet.

The majority of its diet is made up of what is most abundant at that time of the year, including insects, leaves, and fruit.

They cry like human infants.

Despite its small size, the bush baby produces loud, shrill cries surprisingly like those of a human baby. Aside from these baby-like cries, they make croaking, chattering, and clucking sounds or shrill whistles in case of danger.

Bush babies travel in leaps and bounds.

In a series of leaps, a bush baby can easily cover 10 yards in seconds. The tail (longer than the length of the head and body) powers the leaps made to catch prey, escape from enemies, or get around obstacles. The bush baby's other methods of locomotion are kangaroo-like hops or simply walking or running on four legs. They frequently mark their routes with urine. By following their own scent, they can jump onto exactly the same branches each time when they go to or from their nest. Males also urine-mark the boundaries of their territories and will sometimes become aggressive toward intruders.

The tiny newborn weighs less than half an ounce.

Females may have singles, twins, or triplets, with each newborn weighing less than half an ounce. The first three days or so the mother keeps the infants in constant contact with her. She picks them up with her hands or mouth, and they cling to her. The young are suckled for six weeks and can feed themselves at two months. They grow rapidly, causing the mother to walk slowly and awkwardly as she transports them. Sometimes, the mother will take just one young with her, leaving the others in the nest.

 

Gallery
  • Bush baby AWF
  • Bush Baby AWF
  • Bush baby Daryl and Sharna Balfour
  • Bush baby Philip Muruthi
Challenges

They are losing living space.

As human populations grow, they encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production, and construct new roads.

Solutions

Our solution to ensuring the continued survival of the bush baby:

  • Develop conservation tourism.

    African Wildlife Foundation brings together communities and private investors to construct conservation tourism lodges like The Sanctuary at Ole Lentille in Kenya. The lodge provides sustainable income for the community, and the 20,000-acre conservancy is a safe home to a variety of wildlife.

Projects

Will you show the bush baby your support?

With your help, AWF can work on critical initiatives that provide safe spaces for the bush baby to live like at Ole Lentille. Donate for a cause that will help with wildlife conservation and ensure the bush baby does not become an endangered species.

  • Ol Lentille Lodge
    Protecting Kenyan wildlife

    Kenyan wildlife is diverse but threatened.

    Kenya is home to some of Africa’s most diverse ecosystems and identifiable species. Lush savanna landscapes play host to...

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