Cape Town Baboons

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Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus) from the Old World monkey family is one of the largest of all monkeys. The word “chacma” is derived from the Hottentot (Khoikhoi) name for baboon, viz choachamma or choa kamma. A subspecies of these baboons are located primarily in southern Africa known as the Cape Baboon.

The Cape baboon inhabits in a wide array of habitats including woodland, savanna, steppes, and sub-desert. 11 baboon troops live between the Tokai Forest in Cape Town’s southern suburbs to Table Mountain National Park. The troops vary from a few individuals to gangs of more than a hundred.

Physical Attributes

The Cape Town Baboons appear to be the longest and heaviest species of monkey. Their most distinctive feature is their long, downward-sloping face with a prominent muzzle, long razor-sharp canines and a heavy brow above beady, close-set eyes. Baboons have long limbs with the arms being longer than the legs.

They walk on all four arms and legs with their tails held in an arch. Their fur is coarse and short, varying from dark brown to gray in color with a patch of rough hair on their nape. Baboons are sexually dimorphic. Females are considerably smaller than males.


Cape Town Baboons have a wide variety of social behaviors, including a dominance hierarchy, collective foraging, adoption of young by females, and friendship pairings. They are highly sociable animals and live in social groups called troops. Troops consist of multiple adult males, adult females, and their offspring. However, a small troop would consist of only a single adult male and several adult females. The troops consist of 15 to 100 or more individuals. These baboons have complex group behavior. Within a troop, adult males form a dominance hierarchy.

Males establish and maintain dominance through fighting and visual displays of aggression such as staring, display of canine teeth and chasing. This male ranking is, however, unstable because males tend to leave the troop when they reach adulthood and high ranking males frequently lose their status to these younger immigrants. Female baboons, on the other hand, remain in the group in which they were born. These baboons communicate among themselves by means of body attitudes, facial expressions, body postures, and touch. They also have a wide range of vocal signals.

Cape Town Baboons spend most of their days foraging on the ground and in the trees, and at night they sleep in trees or anywhere where they are safe from predators.


Cape Town Baboons breed throughout the year. High population density and adverse environmental conditions such as extreme heat and drought can decrease reproduction. Both males and females reach sexual maturity at five years.

Young males, however, often only start breeding at seven to ten years when they have grown big enough to challenge the dominant males. Females prefer to mate with the dominant males, and dominant males further prevent access to females by subdominant males through aggressive suppression.

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Baboons do not have a definite breeding season and are sexually active throughout the year. Gestation period is around 140 days, after which a single young is born. Chacma baboons are preyed upon by Leopard and Cheetah.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ *⠀⠀ *⠀⠀ *⠀⠀ *⠀⠀ #primates⠀ #baboons⠀ #chacmababoons⠀ #capebaboon⠀ #mating⠀ #krugerpark⠀ #krugernationalpark⠀ #southafrica⠀⠀ #animals ⠀⠀ #wildlife⠀⠀ #nature⠀⠀ #animalphotography ⠀⠀ #naturephotography ⠀⠀ #animalshots ⠀⠀ #naturelovers ⠀⠀ #nature_perfection ⠀⠀ #animal world⠀⠀ #wildanimals⠀⠀ #capturethewild⠀⠀ #wildlife_vision ⠀⠀ #wildlifeonearth ⠀⠀ #wildlife_seekers ⠀⠀ #wildlifeaddicts⠀⠀ #wildlife_shots ⠀⠀ #wildlifeplanet ⠀⠀ #wildlifephoto⠀⠀ #wildlifephotography⠀⠀ #wildlifeconservation ⠀⠀ #wildlifephotographer ⠀⠀ #africanwildlife

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Females give birth every two years. The female reproductive cycle is about 36 days. A few days just before ovulation, a female’s posterior swells and becomes bright pink. This is when the female is sexually receptive. The gestation period is six months. Parental care is largely by the mother but males are highly protective of their offspring and would occasionally look after them while the mother forages. Infants are weaned after six months. But they remain dependent on their mothers for protection and guidance until they are about two years old. The average lifespan of chacma baboons is 30 to 40 years.


The Cape Town Baboons are omnivorous and are able to change their diet relative to what is available in the environment. They prefer fruits but they also eat insects, seeds, grass, smaller vertebrate animals, and fungi. Baboons at the Cape of Good Hope also eat shellfish and other marine invertebrates.

They rarely engage in hunting large animals, when it comes to game meat they are mere scavengers . Young baboons learn what is good and safe to eat, plus how to go about getting it by watching their mothers and other older members of the troop.

Cape Town Baboons are opportunistic animals and those that reside near human settlements opt to get food by directly stealing from homes, game lodges, and picnic spots in national parks. These intelligent and fierce creatures often snatch food from unsuspecting people and even raid houses and restaurants. There are also people, specifically tourists and tour operators, that deliberately feed these animals to draw them close for viewing despite the fact that feeding them has been declared illegal and road signs are put up to warn people not to feed them.


Cape Town Baboons aren’t endangered. Lions, leopards, hyenas, jackals, large eagles, cheetahs, and rock pythons are among their predators. And although there has been hunting, trapping and killing incidents which have reduced baboon numbers and disrupted their social structure, humans are not major threats to this species.