10 Cool things about bush babies

Bush babies seem to be cute creatures with their huge round eyes, but they’re not all cute and cuddly. They can be scary. These are the 10 things Animaltalk found out about them.

1. Sound effects

These cute monkeys received their name not only because of their huge eyes, but also because of the horrid sounds they make throughout the night. They can make quite a racket, but the eerie part is how it sounds. One of the 18 sounds they make seems like the cry of a baby. Imagine that in the dead of the night in the pitch-black bushveld, it has the tendency to send shivers down your spine.

2. Disgusting habits

Bush babies are quite disgusting. To mark their territory, they urinate on their own hands, and as they walk along the branches on all fours they spread their scent throughout their area. This is to communicate to other males where their zone is. Not only do they mark their territory with urine, but also their females. Yuk!

3. Building a nation

Usually a female will give birth to twins after the dry season and right before the rainy season. She is pregnant for around 125 days. Females sometimes mate with about six males. When she goes out looking for food, she keeps her babies hidden in well-constructed nests and when she wants to move them she carries them in her mouth.

4. Safety in numbers

You usually find these primates high up in the trees where they leap great distances using their hind legs. Males avoid confrontation by staying within their territory, but they do rendezvous with other females. They believe in the saying ‘safety in numbers’, because they always go to sleep during the day with around five other bush babies.

5. Sights and sounds

A bush baby’s eyes cannot move within its sockets, meaning that they have to turn their heads to look sideways. This is how they keep an eye out for prey within their midst. Another sense that helps when searching for food is their sensitive hearing. A bush baby has highly developed hearing. They also have complex folds within their ears to help them establish the location of sounds. Bush babies’ hearing are so acute, they can hear the gliding of a bird.

6. Blink of an eye

This primate moves so quickly that if you blink you might miss him catching a grasshopper. Their swift movements aren’t only used when hunting, but also when being hunted. They’re quite athletic, as they are able to catch a moth mid-air while still holding on to a branch.

7. African queen

Bush babies are native to South Africa and are accustomed to the African heat. They are mostly found in savannahs, woodlands, riverine bush and the fringes of forests. Most of them reside near the Limpopo River. They are not only found in SA – they can be seen in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.

8. Biggest threat

You might think that a predator like an owl or snake would be the bush baby’s largest threat, but fires pose more of a threat to these primates than any other predator hungry for their taste. This is because of their inability to move over large distances, and fire also burns up their food and resources.

9. Omnivores

The diet of a bush baby consists mostly of plants, depending on the region they’re in. In African countries, they eat more insects than plants, large termites being the bush baby’s favourite insect. Sometimes bush babies are observed eating these insects directly from the ground during the alate (flying) form of the termites. Their diet consists not only of insects and plants, but also includes fruits, eggs, flowers, leaves, lizards and birds.

10. Hop along

Bush babies use their hind legs to jump to treetops, and when they land on the ground they usually hop their way to their destination. During the summer, these primates are active for around nine and a half hours a day. In winter, they’re active for longer because of the lower temperature, sometimes up to 12 hours a day.

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