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Bush Baby

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Last updated date: 25th Jul 2024
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Bushbaby Animal

Bushbaby also known as galalo and nakapies, which means night monkeys are small saucer-eyed animals that are active during the night and sleeping in the morning. The bushbaby animal belongs to the Galagidae family and is primitive primates that belong to the continent, Sub Saharan Africa. They are also related to the Lorisidae family and is generally known as the sister group. 

The bushbaby animals have more than 20 species but some of the experts believe that many of the other species of these small nocturnal animals are yet to be discovered. This galalo animal is given the name “bushbaby” is either due to its appearance or its pattern of cries. For instance, because of the firm grip of bushbaby animal on the branches of their habitat, the Ghanaian name that was given to the bushbaby is “ Aposor”. 

According to the African wildlife association, bushbaby animals are the most successful suborder primates in Africa, both in terms of abundance and variety that can be seen throughout the African continent. Though many people around the world are happily adopting this animal as a bushbaby pet, it is not at all advisable to keep them as a pet because like other primates they are the active carrier of many transmittable diseases.  

Characteristics of Bushbaby


The appearance of the bushbaby is generally grey and brown but sometimes it varies as yellowish or reddish in colour. They have large eyes that provide them with good night vision and they have very precise and acute auditory receptions. Their ears resemble more like the structure of bat-ears that allows them to track the insect in the dark. The specific characteristics of these bush animals are they leap from one one three to the another and cling to it. They are very fast and agile in nature, especially the smaller version of the galalo animals like lesser bushbabies. Thus they either catch insects from the ground or catch them in the air while they are flying. They have the tendency to fold their ears while they are resting and also to protect their ears as they bond themselves to the thick branches of the trees. They are generally small in size, soft furry with a long tail to balance their body and long hind legs. All the digits of the foreleg and hind legs possess nails except the second toe of the hind leg as it is considered to be their grooming claw. They are omnivorous in nature as they strive on both fruits, tree gums as well as small birds, insects and other smaller animals. They have eight pairs of teeth in both upper and lower jaws that are equally distributed and have comb-like incisors, that is the front teeth that all mammals possess. They usually extract the tree gum by excavating into the bark of the trees and then scrap out the bark with the help of their comb-like incisors. When they come to the ground, they usually stay upright and jump from one place to another for commutation.

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The gestation period continues for about 2 to 3 months or 110 to 133 days. The female galagos are able to produce one, twin or triplets at a single point in time and become very aggressive during and after the gestation period. The young galagos born are less than an ounce and are born with half eyes closed and therefore are not capable of moving independently around. After about 6-7 days the mother carries the young bushbabies in her mouth and place them over the branch where she feeds them. For the first three days, the mother keeps constant contact with her babies and feed them for two months while they are incapable of feeding themselves. But the babies grow really fast and after two months they become stable enough to fetch their own food. While the females maintain a separate territory and this consists of the adult female bushbabies with their young once after the males in the group leaves once they achieve puberty. The adult males form a separate territory which generally overlaps when one male of a single territory mate with all the females belonging to one territory while the males who are not taking part in the process forms a separate bachelor territory.

Marking Paths 

All the galago species have a common way of calling out each other in the same species by making loud cries and the sound of the cries are different for different functions and also vary from species to species. Generally, scientists identify the bushbaby species by their pattern of loud cries. They generally mark their paths with their urine. As they recognize the typical fragrance of the urine, they can locate back their path to their habitat. Different species make loud noises to locate the other members of the species and another form of loud cry is usually generated to gather all the members of the species at dawn to flock back to their habitats that can be a hole in the tree, branches or nests. 


Though the galagos are small in size they have an extensive jumping ability where the average jump of galagos is measured to be around 2.25 meters. The reason that they can have such a huge leap each time as compared to the other animals of their size is that the mass of their leg muscles accounts for 25% of their whole mass of the body. Thus their leg muscles allow them to jump six to nine times better as compared to frog. As because they have a lot of energy present in the tendons of the lower leg, it provides the strength to make such a huge leap. While they are in mid-air while jumping they fold their legs and tail closer to their body and brings them out at the last moment before grabbing a branch of a tree. The tail of the bushbaby is longer than the actual size of the body and it actually helps them in accelerating such long leaps. With few consecutive jumps, they can cover almost ten yeards of length in mere some seconds. They have the ability to walk with four legs or hop like kangaroos according to their requirements. Such complex, complicated and yet coordinated movements are supported by the postal half situated at the posterior parietal cortex that is attached to the motor, premotor and visuomotor areas in the frontal cortex.  

Types of Bushbaby

There are many species that have been further divided into subspecies of the galagos family but are majorly divided into 7 types of galagos out of which five major kinds of galagos are described below.

  1. Senegal Bushbaby: Senegal bushbabies also known as Senegal galago plum possess thick fur which is of silvery brown colour spread all over their body with a thick long tail that is larger than its body with large saucer eyes. They have a very distinctive and intriguing cry. These are found primarily in Africa, that is, from south of the Sahara to Senegal in the west covering areas in between like Sarvana and the open woodlands of Africa containing Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia in the East and Tanzania and Kenya in the west. They mostly prefer dry bushes and forests therefore mostly recedes in Sarvana. They are mostly omnivorous in nature and feeds on fruits and flowers, grasshoppers and sometimes small birds. They have a mating season twice a year when it rains in November and again when it rains at the end of February. During the gestation period, the females usually make a nest with leaves where they lay their litters that is 8usually one or two and very rarely three. The young are born between the month of April and November and starts having solid food after a month but are fed by their mother till three months of age.

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  1. Lesser Bushbabies: They are called the lesser bushbabies as they are the smallest primates of the group, Galago senegalese with big round eyes and a long tail that assist them in long jumps and have a sharp night vision. The adult lesser bushbabies usually weigh 90 to 300 gms that is around 3 to 10.5 ounces. They are usually 130 millimetres in their length. There have been 4 subspecies of lesser bushbabies with 18 distinctive vocalizations and have been a native of almost 25 African countries. They usually make loud cries that including croaking, clucking and chatting sounds to communicate with the other members of the same group but usually whistles shrillingly at the time of danger. They are generally herbivorous in nature and their majority of the diet includes fruits and leaves throughout the year. In lack of the former options, they consume small insects.

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  1. Greater Galagos or Otolemur Carassicaudatus: These are the biggest species of the galagos group with a long thick tail that measures between 415 mm to 473 mm that is much longer than the body and their body and head measures around 373mm and 297 mm respectively. They are usually of the size of a medium squirrel with fur that is dense, furry, long, wavey and without any lustre. The size of the male body is a bit larger than that of the female and are therefore considered sexually dimorphic. The colour of the fur usually varies from silvery brown to grey with the lower side of the body has fur that is lighter in colour. They usually have flattened nails in all their flattened digits and have a flat disc of thickened skin at the end of the toes. In Transvaal, their mating is very restricted just to the month of November but in Zambia, their mating period exceeds from august till September. In Zanzibar and Pemba, their pregnancies are at peak during the month of august with a gestation period that lasts for 133 days with 2-3 litters per mating. The females usually get sexually mature in 2 years but the males take a bit longer time as it totally depends upon the fuller size of the greater galagos. The lower wildlife galagos have lower life expectancy but their life expectancy increases to 18 years as they are kept in captivity. Most of their diet in Africa comprises plant gum and saps that account for 62% where the rest of it is insect. For instance, in Transvaal, Africa the insect account for only 5 % of their diet while in Kenya, the percentage of insect consumption to 50 - 70 % of the diet. 

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  1. Small Eared Galagos: These are also known as Otolemur garnettii and are the smallest member of the genus Otolemur with small ears as compared to the ears length of other bushbaby species. The relative size of the ear of Otolemur garnetti is measured at around 45 mm as compared to the ear length of other galagos which is around 62 mm. The average weight of the male small-eared galagos is 794 grams whereas the weight of a female body is around 734 grams on average. The tail of this species is thick and furry and is longer than the length of the body. The average length of the body of small-eared galagos 266 mm whereas the length of the tail is 364 mm. The small-eared galagos have reddish-brown to brown body colour with the presence of white, black and brown tip on their tail and their face is single-toned. There are four subspecies of this group that are recognized by their skin tone.

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  1. Eastern Dwarf Galgaos: They belong to the native of East Africa and belongs to the family Galagidae and are a group of seven species of strepsirrhine primates. They initially belonged to the Galagoides but on the basis of their genetic evidence and the vocalization difference with the difference in morphology they are dedicated tier own genus named Paragalago. These are actually considered as sister to the lesser galago group due to the similarity in size and structure. They are generally small to medium-sized galagoes as their body mass varies from 60 to 250 grams on the basis of their subspecies. From the evidence of their vocal and tonal quality, they are supposed to be Kenya cost galagos that are now highly threatened and on the verge of extinction as they now prefer to live in very small fragments of forests.

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Social Structure of Bushbaby

The social structure of the bushbaby comprises both the components described as a social and solitary element. In the social component, a major part of the galagos is playing where they climb off a tree, throw things and swing off the branches on their own. While group play includes grooming play, play fights as well as the following play. The following play is a big part that includes several galagoes together where they jump sporadically and chase each other around trees and bushes. While the younger ones are in constant touch with each other and are interactive in nature, the older galagos prefer to rest alone. These are often seen in galago Garnetti species where the mothers leave their children for a longer period of time and do not resist the leaving of young ones whereas on the other hand the youngs try to make a constant contact and stay close to their mother. Grooming has been a very important part of the galago life where they groom themselves at least thrice a day before, during and after the rest. The grooming is basically initiated and done by the males of the galago groups while the female often rejects the grooming attempts made by the males of the group. 

FAQs on Bush Baby

Q1. Is Bush Baby Pet Good to Adopt?

Ans. Though bush baby pet will be cute and adorable to keep at home and a galago pet price ranges from $3000 to $4000 but being the part of the nocturnal primates that often active ant night and rest during days like that of a bat, they carry many pathogens and microorganisms as well as various bioorganisms that can be proved very infectious and contagious to the human body. For a very long time now the baby bush pet tread in America is totally banned but illegal trading from Africa still continuous in many countries and thus the galago pet price is so high.

Q2. Do Galagos Live in Groups?

Ans. Galagos are not a typical social animal as the adult and aged galagos prefer to rest alone but the younger galagos often stay in the group of 3 to 7 while they are socially intersecting in form of play and nest themselves together in the hollow of the trees or in the burrows but often splits at night and individually look for food.