Bushbabies, also known as galagos, are saucer-eyed primates who live in Sub-Saharan forests. Currently, there are over 20 species of galagos, all of which spend most of their lives on the trees.
Scientists believe that there might be other undiscovered species of bushbabies in African forests.
To introduce the nature and characteristics of these cute little primates in a more detailed manner, I outlined 20 interesting facts about bushbabies.
1. Bushbabies are nocturnal animals
Nocturnal means that they are mostly active at night. Their large bubbly eyes allow them to see in low light, while independently rotating two large ears allows them to detect motions in the darkness through outstanding hearing receptors.
Since they are nocturnal animals, they are also known as “nagapies” in Africa, which in local language means “night monkeys”
2. They are good jumpers.
If you think frogs are good at jumping, then you should see bush babies jump. Bushbabies can jump up to 7 ft. (2.25 m), which is about 12 times the length of their body.
They have strong and flexible tendons or muscles on the back of their legs which is believed to be about 6 to 9 times stronger than those of frogs.
Their long tails also assist their legs to perform a series of jumps. Generally, bushbabies can cover about ten yards through series of jumps in a few seconds.
Their jumping ability helps them to escape from predators and to capture their prey easily.
In some cases, they catch insects in the midair while they jump.
3. Bushbabies are omnivores.
It means they eat both animal-based and plant-based diets.
For instance, they like to eat fruits, tree saps that ooze out from certain trees.
Larger bush babies also hunt down smaller animals such as birds, frogs, and insects.
4. All species of bushbabies look the same.
It is almost impossible to differentiate them by looking at their outer appearances. Therefore, scientists listen to their distinctive calls and observe their nesting behaviors to determine which species they belong to.
For example, some species of bushbabies use hollow trees and crooks of a tree for nesting, while other species prefer to live in deserted bird nests and beehives.
5. They were called bushbabies because their call sounds like a crying baby.
They make unique and loud cries to communicate with each other, which almost sound like a crying baby.
For someone who never heard bush babies’ cry, it may sound somewhat creepy the first time.
African legends make it even creepier as they associate bush babies with evil creatures who supposedly kidnap humans in the forest.
However, bushbabies have nothing to do with evil. Those stories were made up to scare children to stay indoors at night.
6. Bushbabies pee on their hands.
Does it sound nasty? Maybe, but they mark their territory by urinating on their hands.
Because every time they jump on a new tree and grab a new branch, their wet hands spread scents that stays there for a while.
7. Bush babies’ large ears can be both blessing and a curse.
Their rotating large ears allow them to get a great deal of information about their environment, serving as a natural radar system.
Also, their exceptional hearing ability helps them to find their prey from a long distance and escape from approaching predators.
However, unless they do not cover their ears while they sleep, receptors in their ears constantly capture noises, which distracts their sleep. Therefore, when they sleep, their ears are always folded.
8. They sleep as a family during the day.
A group of two to seven bush babies frequently sleep together in their hollow.
Since they are nocturnal animals they sleep during the day. Once night approaches, the group separates to look for the food on their own.
9. Bushbabies have many predators.
They are not even safe on the trees. Predatory birds such as large owls, and mammals such chimpanzees, domestic cats, genets, mongooses can get them on a tree.
If they come down from the trees, they face another threat from animals such as domestic dogs, jackals, and snakes.
10. Their long tails help them to balance during long jumps.
Since bushbabies are excellent jumpers, they need to balance their weight during the long jumps. Interestingly, their long tails help with that functions.
They utilize their long tails before jumping, in midair, and when they try to land on a specific branch.
11. When the night is over they make loud calls.
That is how they let other members of the family reunite in their nesting spots. Once everybody is united, they sleep as a group during the day.
12. Bushbabies are playful animals.
They play with each other in three distinct manners: play grooming, play fights, and following-play.
During the play fights, bushbabies swing off the branches, climb higher, and throws objects.
Following-play involves two bush babies, where they chase each other jumping from a branch to a branch.
Bushbabies sometimes engage in social grooming. In some cases, males try to help females with grooming, but females mostly deny their effort.
13. They have bat-like ears.
Those ears help them to track and catch tiny insects in the midair at night.
They are super-fast animals. They have no problem moving from one location to the other in a few seconds.
When bush babies jump, they fold their ears not to injure their delicate ears and they also fold them back while they sleep to reduce the distractive sounds.
14. Bus babies’ gestation period is 110-133 days.
Bushbabies have one or two babies per litter (rarely 3). Mother raise their young ones in the nests built with leaves and protect them aggressively.
If they feel threatened or urge to move to a new location, mothers carry young ones in their mouths.
At birth, a bushbaby weighs only half an ounce (0.014 kg.)
15. Bushbabies are born with half-closed eyes.
A few hours after they are born, they can move independently. Since their eyes are half-closed, their mothers help them move.
In the first couple of months, babies heavily rely on their mother’s help although they start eating solid foods by the end of the first month.
16. Bushbabies nurse their young ones for about 2.5 months.
Females are more active during parental care. They protect, transport, and feed their young ones until they are mature enough for independent living.
There is no solid evidence of whether the males help during parental care. Mothers forage for food alone, during which they leave their young ones unattended in the nest.
17. Female bush babies reach sexual and reproductive maturity in 240 days, males in 300 days.
Bushbabies breed twice a year. The first breeding season starts at the beginning of the rainy season in November. And the second breeding season usually takes place at the end of the rainy season in February.
18. The average length of bushbabies is about 5.2 inches (133 cm).
The average weight of bushbabies varies depending on the species.
For instance, the tiniest species known as prince Demidoff’s bushbaby weighs only 2.3 ounces (66 grams), while the largest species Northern Greater Galago weighs up to 2.9 lbs. (1.3 kg.)
The length of their tail is varying between 0.6 inches (15 cm) to 1.6 inches (41 cm.)
19. Bushbabies live longer in captivity.
The average lifespan of bushbabies in captivity is about 10 years (when proper care is provided). However, the ones in the wilderness live only for 3-4 years.
According to some sources, Greater bush babies can live over 20 years in captivity.
20. Bush babies’ fur can be in various colors.
Mostly, their colors vary from light brown to grayish brown. Sides, legs, and arms display yellowish shades.
Their color blends in well with the colors of certain tries, which makes them unnoticeable among branches.