Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus)

Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus) Silhouette

Quick stats of the Baboon

  • Diet: - Omnivore
  • Overall Length: - 1.35m
  • Weight: - Male - 38 kg
  • Weight: - Female - 17 kg
  • Lifespan - 31 years


Chacma Baboon with infant © A Lienard

A definite favourite with children, baboons - with their sometimes almost human behaviour and expressions - can provide endless entertainment, and the playful antics of young baboons can be particularly amusing.

Baboons are social animals found in troops of 10 to 30 strong with each member in the social hierarchy of the troop. A dominant male or alpha male, is the leader. Below him follow a number of large males who serve as the protectors of the troop always ready to warn or defend the others against danger. Lower down, in a more loosely arranged hierarchy, follow the younger males, females, and infants.

They are highly intelligent animals, with a very strong protective instinct towards their young. When an infant is threatened or held by a predator, the large males will fearlessly charge and make desperate attempts to save it.
Males have a very loud, deep-crested 'whaa-hoo' bark, used either as a sign of assertiveness to intimidate intruders, or as a warning of impending danger.

Baboons are common and often found along the edges of riverine forests or in mountain valleys, close to water. Most of the daylight is spent looking for insects, berries, and other tidbits on the ground. Occasionally they will climb a tree to forage for fruit, birds' eggs, or succulent twigs. Towards dusk they move closer to the river and spend the night resting on some comfortable branch high in a tree or rock crevice.

Other Names for the Baboon

  • Bobbejaan


Distribution map of the Chacma Baboon
Distribution map of the Chacma Baboon

Taxonomy of the Chacma Baboon

  • Order - Primates
  • Family - Cercopithecidae
  • Genus - Papio
  • Species - Papio ursinus

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