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Zoo Licenced, Fully Insured And Garda Vetted


Baboons are clever, crafty creatures that have very little fear of humans.  In most cases they seem to be regarded as pests and thieves in Africa. You must close all your windows and doors and hide your valuables. They can completely ram sack a house looking for food and defecate all over the dwelling, if they were neat and tidy you wouldn’t mind!  I have a terrible problem with closing doors thankfully my fellow volunteer Linda constantly reminded me to do so. Of course baboons rewarded her by peeing on a novel she had left outside.  This was after their futile bid to raid our kitchen.


I was often woken by the head of the troupe, the dominant male, on the roof of my thatched hut a large formidable looking creature that was fierce in appearance and looked incredibly strong.  Near-by was his harem of females and offspring.  During the day they feed on bugs, shoots, seeds ,fruit or whatever  they can get.  They spent the rest of the day when they were not eating lounging around grooming each other.


Apparently some troops of baboons reach numbers of over 100 members. Primates which have a large social network have bigger brains than those who live in small troops in the trees.  A real sign of this intellect is how they communicate through facial/body expressions and grunts.


A submissive expression or fear expression looks like a broad smile.  Anger is the bearing of teeth, a female turning her butt to a male may mean respect or loyalty to the male, or the other!!  A female turning her butt to an infant means the infant can get close to her.  Turning her butt to another female with an infant means she wants to interact with the baby.  Two males who trust one another or are making peace  will allow each other touch their genitals as a greeting or sign of good will (call me old fashioned but I’d rather shake hands).


Much of a baboon’s time is spent grooming each other removing ticks and other parasites.


Communication is essential to living in large social groups it has been shown the larger an animal’s social group, friends, acquaintances etc. the higher the intelligence of the species.


I remember once as a child in Portugal some gypsies had a baboon tied to a tree next to their street market with 6ft of thick metal chain, he would sit there bearing his frightening teeth trying to swipe at anyone that went near it, you can imagine what type of a life he had.

The males are terrifyingly strong and aggressive looking creatures muscular and agile.  The females are like most other female mammals much softer and less threatening looking.


I was watching a few adolescents from the troop and noticed how similar they were to human teenagers with their gestures and how they played, teased and interacted with each other, you could witness  the same behaviour outside any secondary school.