Things to Know About the Thick-tailed Bushbaby

The Thick-tailed Bushbaby is known for many alternative names: Brown Greater Galago, Large-eared Greater Galago, Thick-tailed Galago, and Otolemur crassicaudatus. This nocturnal primate is considered to be the largest among the Galagos family. Compared to other galagos species, the Thick-tailed Bushbaby does not leap. It walks, runs, and jumps. This primate is known for its child-like cries, which is the meaning behind its English vernacular name.

French naturalist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire first described this galago species in 1812.

Two subspecies of Thick-tailed Bushbaby are recognized: the O. c. crassicaudatus and O. c. kirkii. The Thick-tailed Bushbaby, including its two subspecies, are categorized as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List because the populations appear to be on a stable rise.

Its eight levels of scientific classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Suborder: Strepsirrhini

Family: Galagidae

Genus: Otolemur

Species: O. crassicaudatus

The physical description of a Thick-tailed Bushbaby

The Thich-tailed Bushbaby has prominent features, including its fluffy, thick tail and its huge size. Its head and body length ranges from 297 to 373 mm, whereas its tail length measures between 415 and 473 mm. The Thick-tailed Bushbaby is sexually dimorphic, meaning both sexes have different characteristics aside from their sex organs. A male Thick-tailed Bushbaby is usually larger than a female.

The color of the fur ranges from silvery brown to gray, with an underside that is usually lighter. The fur is described as dens, long, wooly, wavy, and without luster.

The Thich-tailed Bushbaby also has large ears, which can be moved independently of each other. It can furl and unfurl its ears as well. Its large eyes point forward. Its fingers are long, and toes have flattened nails.

The distribution and habitat of Thick-tailed Bushbabies

This primate species occurs widely in southern and eastern Africa, particularly in countries like Tanzania, Angola, southern Kenya, and the coast of Somalia. Thick-tailed Bushbabies are forest-dwellers; they prefer tropical forests, subtropical forests, riverine and coastal forests, but they could also be sighted in woodland savannahs. Thick-tailed Bushes and its subspecies can also be found in the KwaZulu-Natal region, Mozambique, and Malawi.

The behavior of a Thick-tailed Bushbaby

A Thick-tailed Bushbaby is a nocturnal and arboreal primate. Its population density can reach 72 to 125 individuals per square kilometers. Thick-tailed Bushbabies are social, agile, and alert. They remain active for more than nine hours a day during the dry season and twelve hours during winter. They rest in nests located at 5 to 12 meters off the ground.

They communicate through various vocalizations. A young emits a soft clicking sound to their mother, while adults make loud clicking noises to call other adults’ attention. They also make lout barks, high-pitched alarm calls, and cries to convey their messages.

Thick-tailed Bushbabies also communicate through urine washing, a behavior characterized by spreading urine on the hands and feet to leave some marks on the space through which they move.

They are social yet solitary mammals, living in a home range of only a few hectares wherein territories tend to overlap. Male Thick-tailed Bushbabies have larger territories than females. Territories are marked using their own scent that is produced from the chest.

Young Thick-tailed Bushbabies love to play with adult females. They also love grooming each other by licking each other’s fur.

The breeding season varies according to the locality. They tend to be monogamous or polygynous. In Transvaal, breeding occurs in November, whereas it happens between August and September in Zambia. The gestation period lasts for 133 days.

The female Thick-tailed Bushbaby gives birth to 2 or 3 young. After giving birth, the female Thick-tailed Bushbaby leaves the young to search for food. The mother also produces energy-dense milk to provide nourishment for the young. Females reach sexual maturity once they reach two years of age, but males reach sexual maturity later than females.

The diet of a Thick-tailed Bushbaby

This animal is mostly frugivorous and gumivorous. They often eat insects too. More than 60% of their diet consists of gums and saps, supplemented by insects and fruits. They also eat termites. Thick-tailed Bushbabies have the ability to eat food off the ground without using their hands.