SPECIES PAPIO HAMADRYAS
The sacred baboon has a unique multi-level society – a harem is made up of a male leader with up to 10 females and their young. Two or more related harems join up to make a clan, and bands are made up of 2-4 clans and are used for territory fights. Multiple bands come together to form a troop, generally found on large cliff faces where they turn in for the night. These troops can consist of over 2,000 individuals.
Baboons are considered a large old-world monkey. They are sexually dimorphic with the males being twice the size of the females and sporting an impressive cape of white and grey hair. The females, juveniles and aged males are pale brown in colour, whilst newborn animals are black.
Both sexes have large buttocks, bright red in colour with substantial callouses on both cheeks used as a cushion, when in oestrus, the female develops a large swelling which tells the male that she is ready to be mate.
These baboons are omnivorous, with the bulk of their diet being grasses, seeds, nuts and flowers. They will also regularly hunt and consume small prey animals such as birds, eggs, rodents and reptiles. They have also been documented hunting larger prey, as a clan, such as small antelope.
Sacred baboons get their name from Ancient Egypt, where they were revered as Gods. It is believed this came about due to behaviours performed by the baboons appearing to worship the sun.