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Bush Baby in the Pantry

November 30, 2010

My brother, Neil, and sister-in-law, Mara (Lusaka, Zambia) have a bush baby living in their pantry!

We found it on Sunday [two weeks ago].  Jess [husky dog] was lying there, almost guarding the couch.  It was totally different to when they smell a rat or mouse.  Then they normally scratch and push against the furniture but he was just lying there, staring at it.  When Neil lifted it up, he thought it was a mouse but when I looked at it properly, there was no way I could mistake those big eyes and little tail and feet for a mouse.  We tried to catch it but I was so worried that we would squash it because it is so small, so we rather left it.  I put water and fruit out , which it had.  I think it decided to explore a bit during the night and ended up in the pantry (where Jess is guarding now.) I had a quick glimpse of it there during the week. I still put fruit and water out in the pantry and it eats and drinks during the night. Actually seems like it likes grapes quite a lot but it also eats some of the other pieces of fruit that I leave for it.

Hey Ness.  Update:  baby is recognising my voice now and makes ”tiny” little sounds when I talk to it.  Doesn’t like peels and leaves them all behind, so I have to clean everyday where I leave the food.   Still hiding though.

Mara, Outjo, Namibia 1990 – Raising my 1st Bush Baby

Bush babies (Galagos), also called nagapies in South Africa (“little night monkeys” in Afrikaans), are small, nocturnal primates native to continental Africa.

The lesser galago, also called bush baby, is one of the smallest primates, about the size of a squirrel.  Despite its size, it is exceptionally vocal, producing loud, shrill cries surprisingly like those of a human baby.  The plaintive cries and “cute” appearance may account for the name “bush baby.”  It and its larger cousin, the greater galago (Galago crassicaudatus), are both arboreal and nocturnal in their habits.

Bush babies have large, round eyes for good night vision and batlike ears that enable them to track insect prey in the dark.  Fast, agile and accurate, they catch some insects on the ground and snatch others from the air.  As they jump through thorn bush or thick growth, they fold their delicate ears flat against their heads to protect them.  They fold them during rest, too.

The bush baby travels through the trees in literal leaps and bounds.  In midflight it tucks its arms and legs close to the body and as it lands, brings them forward, grabbing a branch with its hands and feet.  In a series of leaps a bush baby can easily cover 10 yards in seconds.  The tail (longer than the length of the head and body) powers the leaps made to catch prey, escape from enemies or get around obstacles. The bush baby’s other methods of locomotion are kangaroolike hops or simply walking or running on four legs.

Both bush babies and galagos often share habitats with monkeys, but as bush babies are nocturnal they do not compete ecologically with monkeys. Bush babies are found throughout East Africa, as well as in woodlands and bushlands in sub-Saharan Africa.

The bush baby’s diet changes according to the seasons. Most of its diet is made up of what is most abundant at that time of the year, including insects, leaves and fruit.

African Wildlife Foundation

Galago moholi
Photo: Gerald Doyle

I love this description on Primate Info Net:  “In general, bushbabies are small, woolly, long-tailed primates with mobile, oversized naked ears.”

Photos:   STA & SAN Parks


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bacon permalink
    November 30, 2010 8:35 am

    Can I have one too?

  2. Elrese permalink
    February 22, 2011 11:11 am

    Good day. I found a extremely tiny abandoned bush baby this morning. I’m still struggling to keep him alive, and hope that we will be able to pull him through. He is still suppose to be drinking from his mother. If you have any advice, can you please help.

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