Friday, July 18, 2014

Olive Baboon

The olive baboon is one of five species of baboon and the one with the widest ranging distribution. It is found in most of central Africa, from east to west, except near the coasts. It gets its name from the color of its fur which looks like a green/gray from a distance.
Baboon in Nakuru NP.
In Serengeti NP.
Photo by Jack Duckworth.
Close-up, because of yellow/brown and black on the hairs, it has a multi-colored hue. It is also called the anubis baboon because the Egyptian god Anubis was sometimes represented by a dog head with a muzzle that looked like that of a baboon. Males have a mane of longer hair.
Mane on a male. Photo by John Mirau.
Another male. Photo by Michael Lewin. 
This female carrying a baby lacks a mane. Photo by John Mirau. 
It is one of the largest monkeys. Only the chacma baboon and mandrill get to a similar size. All other monkeys are smaller. 
Photo by Steven Shuel.
While staying at the Serena Mara Lodge in Masai Mara, we had the door to our balcony open, which abutted the Reserve. It was a warm day and we had the fan in our room on, trying to get more circulation. I was laying on the bed and starting to doze off, when I opened my eyes and saw two very large baboons in our room close to the bed. My first impression was that they were exceedingly large and I needed to get them out right away. So I screamed "Get out" at them and they quickly high-tailed it out the balcony door, one of them holding a packed of wet-wipes from our room. We were very thankful that is what they grabbed, because we had several cameras and a pair of binoculars on the table where the wet-wipes were, items they could have taken instead. 

The first quarter of the tail is erect, then the rest drops down sharply, making it look broken.
An example of the broken looking tail. In Masai Mara. This may be one that came into our room.
It has a bare patch on its rump, but the rump patch is much smaller than on other baboon species. 
The bare patch on rump. In Serengeti NP.
We saw olive baboons in a number of places, quite often near the lodges where they try to take advantage of the leftovers of the human inhabitants. The first ones we saw were a large troop of about 25 or 30 near the Sarova Shaba Lodge.
Large troop near the Sarova Shaba Lodge. Note the mane on the large male in the center. Also on the male at the far left. 
Another memorable sighting was in Nakuru National Park where they were beginning to rest in trees, along the side of the road, for the night.
In Nakuru NP.
We saw a number of babies riding on the backs of their mothers and some solitary baboons spread out among individual trees.
In Nakuru NP. Photo by Judy.
In Nakuru NP.
In Serengeti NP. Photo by Steven Shuel.
Photo by Judy.
Photo by Steven Shuel.
Photo by Judy.


  1. I love the little snuggly babies, but waking up to two Baboons in my room? Not so much.

  2. I think these are rather scary-looking monkeys, not the sweet cute little monkey you'd like to have for a pet. However, having two invade our room was a highlight of the trip!

  3. I LOVE the story about the Baboons in your room! - You'll never forget that, and your're so right - imagine them taking off with your wallet?! I remember being surprised at finding Baboons in Saudi Arabia. We were equally surprised to find that the locals would approach them and feed them; or drive by and leave leftover garbage for them to rummage though on the side of the road where they were known to congregate.