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Fascinating Facts: Bushbabies

Lesser Bushbaby. Photo: © Nico Smit/ Adobestock.com

  1. Bushbabies are one of the world’s smallest primates.
  2. They are named bushbabies due to the loud noises they sometimes make that sound like crying, shrieking babies.
  3. Bushbabies are nocturnal, tree-dwelling animals about the size of a squirrel and have exceptional good night vision thanks to their large eyes.
  4. Bushbabies are related to monkeys, apes and humans. They have fingers and toes that can grab things and have flat fingernails similar to humans.
  5. These animals are exceptionally fast and have impressive jumping abilities believed to be six times better than a frog. Bushbabies are frequently seen bouncing from tree to tree thanks to strong limbs and a long tail used for balance.
  6. Bushbabies have a diet of insects, small animals, fruit, tree gums and eggs.

Thicktailed Bushbaby. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

7. Female bushbabies have a gestation period of 110 – 133 days. They are born with poor eyesight and the mother will carry its young around in its mouth, placing it on a nearby branch while feeding.
8. Females have defined territories, and young male bushbabies will leave the female territory once old enough to do so. Female bushbabies form large social groups of related females.

Lesser Bushbaby. Photo: NicoSmith/ Adobestock.com

9. Much like other primates, bushbabies have highly social and involved family groups. Play forms an integral part of socialising, and they ‘play fight,’ ‘play groom’ and ‘follow play’ by chasing each other from tree to tree.
10. Bushbabies can live for about ten years in the wild, but their numbers are declining mainly due to the illegal wildlife trade where sadly they end up as pets.
Sources: Wikipedia; African Wildlife Foundation