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Olive baboon

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Olive baboon
Olivebaboonsitting.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Papio anubis

An Olive Baboon sitting in a tree.
Olivebaboon.jpg

The Olive Baboon (Papio anubis), is a species of baboon that is highly adaptable and because of this, is often a nuisance. They are fierce primates with large, sharp teeth and hunt in groups. They are quite burdensome to humans living near them because they make raids on farms for food.

Anatomy

An Olive Baboon

The Olive Baboon walks on all fours (knuckle walkers) and are similar to a galloping horse when they run. Their arms are more dexterous than their legs and are used to grab and hold among other things.

They usually weigh about 30 to 55 pounds depending on gender (sexually dimorphic). Males are larger than females in size and weight. Males can grow up to 30 inches long whereas females grow to 19 inches. They have a greenish-gray coat of fur covering their bodies.[1] Infants are born with what is called a natal coat, which is black but soon changes to the normal color as it grows into an adult. The Olive Baboon has a long dog-like face and large canine teeth. Like most primates they have a tail which grows to be about 38-50 cm long. They also have a cheek pouch inside their mouths which they can store food in.[2]

Reproduction

An Olive Baboon mother and her child.

The Olive Baboon reaches sexual maturity when they become about 5 years old. They reproduce sexually and they are promiscuous. This means that both males and females have multiple mates. But, they also create what are called consortships which is where a male and a female will only mate with each other for up to a few minutes or a few weeks. When two baboons have developed a consortship, the male will prevent other males from mating with his female. This can cause conflict between the male and other males who want to mate with the female. Baboons have no mating season, the females give birth and cycle all throughout the year. The females go through what are called ovarian cycles. During these cycles sexual swelling occurs making it difficult to move and sit, also increasing a female's weight. This is a sign of fertility for the female and attracts males. The swelling lasts about 18 days. They only give birth to a single baby each time so they must take care of it.[3]

Ecology

The Olive Baboon is an important part of the ecosystem in Africa. They are extremely adaptable and can live in almost any habitat whether it be forest or desert. This is because they are omnivores and are adept foragers. Most inhabit grasslands but they are not limited to them. They are widespread throughout equatorial Africa which includes 25 countries.[4] They can eat almost anything; such as leaves, grass, roots, mushrooms, flowers, fruit, lichens, bark, tubers, seeds, corms, and invertebrates such as spiders and scorpions. They also eat other vertebrates like rabbits, rodents and occasionally gazelle which they hunt in groups.[5]

Nuisance to Humans

The Olive Baboon can adapt to a changing environment. This can create problems for people living near them. When humans encroach on their habitat and destroy it and build cities or towns, the baboons adapt to the new environment, taking food, rummaging through trash and raiding crops. They do whatever they can to survive and find the nutrition they need in many things human eat or throw away. For this reason, Olive Baboons are often treated as vermin. They are not an endangered specie and they are not protected.

References