Bush babies are small primates found in Africa. They are mostly active at night, and may get the name “bush baby” from their baby-like cry.
Scientific & Common Names
Genus: Galago, Otolemur, Euoticus, Sciurocheirus
Common Names: Bush Baby, Galago, Nagapie
Bush babies are small, with large eyes and large ears that give them excellent vision and hearing. They have strong hindlimbs that give them extraordinary jumping abilities. The different species of bush babies vary in size, but the most well known is the Senegal bush baby, which grows to about 16 inches long including its tail.
Bush babies’ gestation lasts for between 110 and 133 days. Mothers carry their infants in their mouths for the early stages of development after birth. Litters are usually between one and three offspring, and the babies’ eyes are only partially open when born. Babies weigh less than half an ounce! They are able to feed themselves and operate independently at around two months of age.
Bush babies hunt insects at night, and females maintain territories that they share with their young. After the young males are old enough, they leave their mother’s territory and go off on their own. Females will remain and establish social groups within a territory. Younger bush babies in social groups are often seen engaging in play that includes play fights, grooming, following, climbing, branch-swinging, and throwing objects at one another.
The name “bush baby” is believed to derive either from the creature’s baby-like appearance, or their cry, which sounds like a human baby. Mothers used to claim that the bush baby’s cry belonged to a monster that would kidnap children, in order to make them stay inside at night. The name “nagapie” means “little night monkey” in the Afrikaans language, and refers to their nocturnal nature, since they are usually only seen at night.
Though most species of bush babies are considered “Least Concern”, meaning there is no immediate threat to their existence, it is believed the Angolan dwarf galago may be endangered.
Bush babies are sometimes kept as pets, although this is often not a good idea. Bush babies typically do not do well in captivity and are quite difficult to care f