The Baboon’s colour varies from brown-grey to dark brown or nearly black but is usually grey-brown. Adult males have a dark mane on the neck and shoulders. The hair is long and coarse. The backs of the hands and feet are dark brown or black. Young have black hair and pink skin. The ears have pointed tips, and the muzzle is long and broad. The limbs are long and powerful with the arms being longer than the legs. The first third of the tail is held stiffly upwards, with the end two thirds hanging down. There are callosites of thickened skin on the rump. Females have a pair of nipples on the chest. Average total length males 1,5m with the tail 70cm and weight 35kg. Total length females 1m with the tail 58cm and weight 15kg.
Cliffs or tall trees preferred for sleeping. With food, water and suitable sleeping place are available, baboons can survive almost anywhere.
Active during the day, sleeping at night in large trees or on cliff ledges. Baboons are very social and live in female-bonded troops of between 4 and about 100 individuals with an average troop size of about 40. Troops are smaller in poorer habitats and larger in richer areas. There is usually more than one male in a troop. Females stay in the troop that they were born in; males emigrate and may move from troop to troop. Separate dominance hierarchies exist among the males and females. Males outrank females. Daughters inherit their mother’s rank. Male dominance depends on physical condition, and high rank is held for only 6-12 months, depending on sex ratios in the population. Females can rise in rank by forming alliances with close female relatives, or with male ‘friends’. Young ride under their mother’s belly; as they grow they change to riding sideways on her back, and then astride, using her tail as a backrest. Males are protective towards infants that are probably their offspring, and act as babysitters while the mother forages, probably to protect the youngsters from infanticide by immigrant males.
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