Bushbaby Tales: some first-hand accounts of the Bushbaby I've collected.
Bushbabies in Books and on Film: books and films about or with Bushbabies.
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Encyclopedia Britannica On-line: "galago"
any of six species of small, arboreal primates, genus Galago, family Lorisidae, found in sub-Saharan African forests. Galagos are attractive gray, brown, or reddish- or yellowish-brown animals with large eyes and ears, long hind legs, soft wooly fur, and long tails. They are also characterized by the great elongation of the upper portion of the feet (tarsus) and by the ability to fold their ears. Galagos pass the day in sleep but are active at night, feeding on fruits, insects, and small birds. In the trees, galagos cling and leap about; the smaller forms, such as the bush baby (G. senegalensis), are extremely active and agile. When they descend to the ground they sit upright, and they move around by jumping with their hind legs like jerboas. Galagos range in length from about 12-16 centimetres (4 1/2-6 inches), excluding the 18-20-centimetre tail, in Demidoff's dwarf galago, Galago (or Galagoides) demidovii, to about 30-37 centimetres, excluding the 42-47-centimetre tail, in the thick-tailed galago, G. crassicaudatus. Known gestation periods are about three to four months; the number of young is usually one or two.
"galago" Britannica Online.
[Accessed 08 January 1998].
The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology's Animal Diversity Web: "Galagonidae: galagos, bushbabies"
These African primates are small, quick animals that are still relatively common in many areas. The family contains 4 genera and 11 species. It is often associated with -- and sometimes included as a subfamily within -- the Loridae (which is also sometimes known as the Lorisidae).
Galagos have long hindlegs (noticeably longer than their forelimbs) and a long tail. Their bodies are lightly built compared to the heavier lorids. The ears are large and mobile. Their fingers are well developed but more slender than in lorids. They have terminal disk-pads, and the pollux (thumb) is not opposable. In contrast to lorids, galagos do not have retia mirabilia in their hind limbs. They move rapidly through the trees, leaping from branch to branch (up to 12 meters!). This also contrasts with lorids, which move slowly and rarely leap.
The skulls of galagos are lightly built with a globular braincase and without strongly developed temporal ridges. The facial region is reduced. The orbits are directed more to the sides than in lorids. Their postorbital processes and zygomatic arches are slender, and the bullae are considerably inflated. Unlike lorids, the zygomatic branch of the squamosal lies entirely anterior to the external auditory meatus; and the posterior nares are usually behind the second rather than the third upper molar.
As in the case of most other strepsirhines, galagos have a toothcomb made up of lower incisors and canines. Their dental formula is 2/2, 1/1, 3/3, 3/3 = 36.
Male galagos have a baculum, a structure that male lorids lack.
Galago species vary in food habits from being highly insectivorous to eating leaves, fruit, or gums secreted by trees. Some forage low in undergrowth; others are seen mainly in the canopy. The hands and feet of some species appear to be specialized for grasping small twigs and branches, but one species (Galago elegantulus) climbs mostly on large branches and the trunks of trees. Most of their activity is nocturnal; during the day, they can be found in thick vegetation or hollow trees.
"Galagonidae" Animal Diversity Web.
[Accessed 8 January 1998]
Anthropology at College of the Siskiyous: "Galagonidae"
Galago is the general name for the family Galagonidae which consists of eleven species in four genera; Euoticus, Galago, Galagoides and Otolemur. Best known is genus Galago, which has five species, G. alleni, G. gallarum, G. matschiei, G. moholi and G. senegalensis. Type species of the genus is G. senegalensis.
As a group: galagos, bushbabies, night apes. Some of the more common species; Galago senegalensis: Senegalese or lesser bushbaby. Galagoides demidovii: Demidoff's dwarf galago. Otolemur crassicaudatus: thick-tailed bushbaby. Euoticus elegantulus: western needle-clawed bushbaby.
Galagos range from Galagoides demidovii's 12 - 16 cm body plus 18 - 20 cm tail to the Otolemur crassicaudatus' 30 -37 cm body plus 42 - 47 cm tail. The most common is Galago senegalensis with a 20 cm body and a 25 cm tail, weight 500 g. Dental formula for Galagonidae is i 2/2, c1/1, pm 3/3, m 3/3 x 2 = 36. Fur is soft, dense and woolly, coloration ranging from silver gray to brown. They have very large eyes typical of nocturnal animals. Genus Galago have large ears with four transverse ridges and can be independently or simultaneously bent back and wrinkled downward from the tips. This frequent furling and unfurling produces a quizzical expression characteristic of the genus.
Range varies with species but includes most of the forested and bush regions of Africa south of the Sahara including some of the nearby islands such as Zanzibar. Their range does not extend to Madagascar.
Galagos are all arboreal and known for their ability to leap great distances among branches.
Galagos are omnivorous but primarily insectivorous. Their favorite food is grasshoppers, but they also eat small birds, eggs, fruits, seeds and flowers. Euoticus has specialized front teeth for removing tree bark so it can feed on tree gum.
Galagos typically feed at night alone or in small groups. During the day they sleep together in larger groups in nests made in tree forks, hollow trees or old bird nests.
In Galago senegalensis, which are typical of the family, females give birth to one or two young between April and November after a gestation period of 110 to 120 days. The mother prepares a nest for her young before birth. For the first two weeks of their life the young cling tightly to the mother's fur. After about two weeks they start to walk and make short leaps. The young start to eat solid food at about one month but continue to nurse until about three and one-half months. They live around ten years.
"Galagonidae" Anthropology at College of the Siskiyous.
[Accessed 8 January 1998]
Found in sub-Saharan Africa, bushbabies live everywhere, from woodland savanna to rain-forest. Attractive bundles of fur with flattened faces and long tails, the smallest species are mouse-sized, while the largest are about the size of cats but with fingers and toes equipped with nails instead of claws, reflecting their relationship to monkeys, apes, and humans. Bushbabies hide during the day in tree hollows or well-camouflaged leafy nests and emerge at dusk to feed on insects, fruit, and tree gum. They are well adapted to their nocturnal life: huge eyes and a reflective layer of cells behind the retina (called a tapetum) increases their ability to capture light. Independently moving ears help pinpoint the location of insects and dangers. Batteries of touch-sensitive hairs around the eyes and ears inform them about their surroundings, as does a remarkable sense of smell and a moist nose, which is joined by a groove to a special sense organ in the roof of the mouth.
Making their way through the trees, bushbabies hang, hop, run, and make prodigious leaps, sometimes spanning four metres in a single bound. During their travels, which can cover more than a kilometre each night, they call frequently, each call carrying valuable information about their way of life and social behaviour.
The study of their vocalizations has not only made possible a better understanding of what they are saying to one another, it has also altered estimates of how many species there are from a paltry half-dozen to a known 16 and a suspicion that there may be as many as 40.
[Accessed 10 January 1998]
Meerkat's Mammals: "Bush baby"
DID YOU KNOW THAT...
- because the bush baby's call sounds like the shouts of an exited child, British explorers thus named it its English name.
- Some African tribes catch bush babies by leaving out saucers of palm wine for them to drink.
- the longest recorded leap by a bush baby from one tree to another was 23 feet.
- bush babies fertilize flowers by transferring pollen as they feed.
FEATURES OF THE BUSH BABY
- Body length: Body 6-9 inches. Tail length: 9-10 inches
- Weight: 3-10 oz; Newborns ½ an ounce (that's why they have to be stored in their mother's pouch)
- Sexual maturity: 8 months
- Breeding season: End of rains which depends on location
- Gestation: 4 months
- Number of young: 1 or 2
- Habit: Family groups when foraging; Larger groups when sleeping to scare off predators
- Call: Rasping greeting sounds, "shout" in territorial defence
- Diet: Mainly insects; Also flowers, pollen, honey, seeds, fruit, lizards, mice, and nestlings
- Range: In Africa, a little north of the Equador in the Sahara, but not in the Rainforest area
"Bush baby" Meerkat's Mammals.
- The hind legs are stronger than the forelgs to aid jumping. The elongated lower leg bones give greater leverage for moving quickly from a standing start.
- Fingers and toes are flattened at the ends, with pads of thick skin to give them a better grip on trunks and branches.
- The eyes are very sensitive. During the day, the pupil is reduced to a tiny vertical slit. At night, it opens into a complete circle to allow for better vision in the dark.
- Large ears can be folded down for the safety while leaping.
- The bushy tail acts as a rudder and stablizer as the bush baby flies through the air.
[Accessed 8 January 1998]
Animal Olympics: "High Jump"
Bushbabies, Galago spp., are small primates from Africa. They weigh only 250 grams and can make a standing jump over seven feet (2.25 meters) high. This is more than three times the height reached by larger primates. The muscles used for jumping makeup ten percent of their body weight, twice the proportion found in humans.
"High Jump" Animal Olympics.
[Accessed 8 January 1998]
Taxonmy of the Bushbaby:
[Note: Kingdom = Animalia, Phylum = Chordata, Class = Mammalia, Order = Primates, Family = Galagonidae, Genus = Galago, Species = listed]
- Greater bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus)
- Allen's bushbaby (Galago alleni)
- Grant's bushbaby (Galago granti)
- Southern lesser bushbaby (Galago moholi)
- Northern lesser bushbaby (Galago Senegalensis)
- Western needle-clawed bushbaby (Euoticus elegantulus)
- Eastern needle-clawed bushbaby (Euoticus inustus)
- Northern needle-clawed bushbaby (Euoticus pallidus)
- Zanibar bushbaby (Galagoides zanzibaricus)
- Dwarf bushbaby (Galagoides demidoff)
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