Hamadryas baboon

Papio hamadryas

A mantled baboon cuddles the back of its smaller conspecific. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Least concern
  • Family
    Old World monkeys (Cercopithecidae)
  • Weight
    ♀ 10 – 15 kg,♂ 20 – 30 kg
  • Habitat
    Semi-deserts, steppes, grasslands, short-grass savannahs

Sleeping in groups

Although they are excellent climbers, hamadryas baboons are ground-dwelling primates that walk on all fours. At night, the one-male units coalesce at the designated sleeping rock for the entire troop. In the morning they split up into the smaller one-male units to forage for the day. Sleeping in groups protects the animals against predators.

The picture shows a sitting hamadryas baboon. He has put his arms in front of his belly and looks to the left side of the picture.

Safety in numbers

Male hamadryas baboons maintain a harem where they live together with several females and their offspring. The head of the one-male unit must carefully defend his position against competing males, which can often lead to violent scuffl es. For safety, two or more harems may organise to form a clan of about 20 individuals, which may unite with other clans to form a band of up to 100 individuals. Several bands may join forces to form a troop of up to 800 individuals.

When a female is ready to mate her rump becomes swollen and red, presenting a clear signal to the males.