The baboon is a heavily built monkey distinguished from any other monkey found in Uganda by its larger size and distinctive dog-like head.
There are five baboon species across Africa and Arabia — olive, yellow, chacma, and Guinea. The olive baboon (Papio anubis), also known as the Anubis baboon, is the most extensively spread baboon species and the only one found in Uganda.
Like other Old World monkeys, the baboon does not have a prehensile (gripping) tail, which means it does not use the tail as a hand but can still climb when necessary.
The baboon has a dog-like nose, powerful jaws, sharp canine teeth, and thick fur. Males have a longer mane around the neck, called a ruff.
Baboons sleep, travel, feed, and hang out in groups averaging 50 individuals. Their groups usually consist of seven or eight males, about twice as many females, and their young ones.
The family unit of females and youngsters forms the core of the troop’s social structure. Males don’t stay around their birth troop when they mature; they leave to create or find their befitting groups.
Baboons are omnivorous and highly adoptive monkeys that will eat just about anything edible. It consumes a lot of grass, leaves and forages for berries, blossoms, seeds, pods, roots, bark, and sap from various plants.
Baboons can survive solely on grass, which gives them the advantage of occupying savannahs with less feeding competition from other monkeys.
Where in Uganda to see baboons
Baboons are widespread in Uganda: they occur in all but the three montane national parks. They are frequently seen on the fringes of forest reserves and even along the roadside elsewhere in the country.
Baboons are often intentionally poisoned and killed because they are considered a pest species or vermins. Their main predators are humans, hunting them for their skins or meat and using them in laboratories and medical research.