African Animals

BUSHBABY (Lesser) – Galago Senegalensis

It has large, round eyes, big ears, and it comes in a cute size—a Lesser Bushbaby is a native to the southern part of Africa. It is considered as one of the most common primates that roam around Africa. They are strikingly adorable and generally harmless. In fact, they are often kept as pets by Africans.

Read further to know more about the Lesser Bushbaby.

What is a Lesser Bushbaby?

This adorable animal is known for many names: Senegal Bushbaby, Senegal Galago, Lesser Galago, or its binomial name, Galago senegalensis. They are tiny primates who are most active during nighttime.

DISTRIBUTION

Its name "bush baby" was derived from their cries that resemble that of a crying human baby. They are exceptional leapers and runners who love running from one branch to another. They are mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa and are more prominent in African countries such as western Senegal, west Somalia, Angola, and Zimbabwe. The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified this species as "Least Concern" because there are no significant threats that put their population at risk.

Its eight levels of scientific classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Strepsirrhini
Family: Galagidae
Genus: Galago
Species: Galago senegalensis

Physical Description of a Lesser Bushbaby

This tiny primate has got all the qualities that make people swoon over it—a small size, perky ears, and round, big eyes. It can grow to an average of 130 mm and can weight from an average of 95 to 300 grams. It possesses a thick, long, and wavy fur that is colored silvery-grey or brown. It has big, round eyes that arms it with exceptional night vision. The ends of its toes and fingers have "flat disks of thickened skin," which comes helpful when it is climbing and running along branches, trees, and slippery areas. Its long tail helps it balance.

Its ears consist of four segments that can be bent backward from the tips toward the base of the ears. This action supports its sense of hearing when it is hunting for insects during nighttime. It has got strong ankle joints, which enables it to leap as far as 7 ft or more in a single leap.

Facts about a Lesser Bushbaby's habitat and geographical distribution

Lesser Bushbabies opt for drier areas, occupying savanna woodlands and dense forests. They love staying in trees such as acacia, myrrh shrubs, and frankincense.

Behavioral characteristics of a Lesser Bushbaby

Lesser Bushbabies are described as gregarious, nocturnal primates who sleep in groups during the day. They seek shelter in tree forks, old birds' nests, and hollow trees. However, during the night, they seek out their hunting independently. They are great leapers and climbers who use their urine to wet their fingers and toes to provide a greater grip on the trees and branches. Likewise, they urinate on areas they would like to mark as their territories.

They also have numerous facial expressions that communicate various emotional states like affiliation, fear, and hostility through their faces. They are also very tactile during playtime or when showing aggression. This kind of communication serves an essential facet of communication, especially to a mother Lesser Bushbaby to her offspring and between male and female Lesser Bushbabies.

Diet and food habits of a Lesser Bushbaby

This species is dominantly omnivore—it feeds on insects, small animals, flowers, birds, fruits, eggs, nuts, and even tree gums, especially during dry seasons. A Lesser Bushbaby's stomach is armed with a particular bacterium that can digest tree gums. When food sources run out, it becomes anemic and underweight. Sometimes, they fall into a temporary hibernation that lasts for several hours to regain their lost energy.

Fascinating facts you should know about a Lesser Bushbaby

A Lesser Bushbaby consists of hunting, sleeping, and socializing with others of its kind. Usually, a group of Lesser Bushbabies is made of 3 individuals. Males prefer solidarity in the daytime, while females huddle together and sleep in hollow trees, tree forks, and old nests—these are their safe spaces where predators cannot find them. They also enjoy site-hopping and sniffing around each other's sleeping sites.

However, not all Lesser Bushbabies are saved from their predators' wrath. Their common predators are owls, cats, snakes, and chimpanzees. The latter uses makeshift spears made of fallen branches to stab a Lesser Bushbaby in its abode.

When there's still ample time to escape from its predator, the Lesser Bushbabies run away and shriek. Sometimes, they bite and spit at the predator.

WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:

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