10 Incredible Baboon Facts

Written by Crystal
Updated: September 5, 2023
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10 Baboon Facts
Baboons are clever animals that have been known to escape from zoos.

Baboons have frightening incisors that can be 2 inches long! They use their impressive fangs to defend territory, hunt, eat, and mate. The larger the canines, the more impressive the male.

However, baboon teeth are just the start of the story. There’s a lot more to learn about these intelligent monkeys. Read on to discover 10 incredible baboon facts.

1. They Resemble Old World Monkeys

olive baboon sitting

Baboons don’t have prehensile tails and spend much of their time on the ground.

©iStock.com/flyzone

First, on our list of incredible baboon facts, they don’t look like modern monkeys. Instead, baboons carry over physical traits that only old-world monkeys have.

Take, for instance, the fact that they don’t have prehensile tails. Modern monkeys have prehensile tails that allow them to grip limbs.

Since baboons don’t have gripping tails, they tend to spend much of their time on the ground. However, they are great climbers. If a baboon feels threatened, it can quickly retreat to the treetops.

2. The Only Live in Africa and Arabia

Earth with Africa maps with a sky background. Africa day concept

Baboons are found only in

Africa

or Arabia.

©leolintang/Shutterstock.com

If you want to see a baboon in the wild, go to Arabia or Africa. Those are the only 2 places they live. Baboons love hanging out in the savannah and semi-arid habitats. A few even thrive in tropical forests.

When you’re looking for baboons, they’ll be easy to spot. Adults get quite big, and the males get the largest.

A male baboon can weigh as much as 82 lb. Their bodies can be as long as 40 in, and tails are sometimes as long as 23 inches.

3. Farmers Don’t Like Baboons

group of baboons

Large groups of baboons raid crops and force farmers to erect electric fences to keep them out.

©iStock.com/Elise Morris

In Africa, the baboons present a problem to the farmers. Since they’re opportunistic eaters, baboons tend to target crops. They’ve become a destructive pest for a lot of farmers throughout Africa. However, crops aren’t the only thing they eat.

Baboons are omnivores; they eat a diet consisting of meat and plants. They primarily have a herbivorous diet, dining on grasses, bark, seeds, and fruit. However, they enjoy the occasional meaty snack. It’s not unusual to see a baboon eating birds, rodents, or even young sheep and antelope.

4. Baboons Form Impressive Troops

A group of baboons is called a troop.

©BS Thurner Hof / Creative Commons

A group of baboons is called a troop. The Savannah baboons love forming large troops that comprise hundreds of members. The four baboon species that make up the Savannah baboons include the olive, yellow, guinea, and chacma baboons.

The troops have a complex hierarchy and unique social behaviors. For instance, males will use their strength to dominate rivals, and troop members will spend countless hours bonding over-grooming. When they groom each other, special B-endorphins release, and give them pleasure. This helps encourage social behavior among the troop.

5. They Get the COVID Vaccine

Baboons living in zoos are getting COVID vaccines.

©Dick Mudde – Public Domain

Baboons at zoos across the United States are getting vaccinated for COVID-19. It’s one of the most exciting and incredible baboon facts. Baboons aren’t the only ones receiving vaccinations either.

In California, the Oakland Zoo is vaccinating 48 different animals. The vaccinations include hyenas, mountain lions, chimpanzees, and even bears. The Oakland zoo is just one of many zoos requesting the vaccines. Around 11,000 doses of the animal vaccine went over 80 institutions in 27 states, all for free!

6. Baboons Are Escape Artists

Baboons are smart and have escaped from zoos.

©Mathae / Creative Commons

Why did 52 baboons escape from a Paris Zoo? Because they’re good at it!

Baboons are cunning monkeys, always up for a challenge, such as escaping from their enclosure. A zoological park in Paris rests on the outskirts of the city. When 52 baboons escaped, the entire zoo had to be evacuated.

Zookeepers used tranquilizer guns and pop-up fences to help contain the situation. Almost all of the baboons were returned to their enclosure within a matter of hours. However, how they got out in the first place is still a big mystery.

7. Painted Wolves Recently Began Eating Baboons

Painted wolves experiencing food scarcity are sometimes preying on baboons.

©Jordan Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Moving on with more incredible baboon facts, hungry painted wolves need a new food source, and baboons might be it. Painted wolves and baboons have lived together in Africa for a while. The enigmatic wolves never showed any interest in dining on the baboons. However, food scarcity is changing things.

Now the wolves are regularly attacking baboons. Sometimes they’re even seen playing with the decapitated baboon’s head as if it were a ball!

At first, the baboons didn’t know how to react and made easy prey. Out of fear, they would sometimes run down the tree toward the threat. But the baboons are finally learning how to escape and fight back with their claws and teeth.

8. They Like Stealing Geese Eggs

Egyptian Goose on the green grass. The mostly brown coloring helps this bird blend in with the grass in river areas.

Baboons have been known to fight Egyptian geese for their eggs.

©LeonP/Shutterstock.com

What’s next for our incredible baboon facts? They like snacking on geese eggs!

In Kruger National park in South Africa, a video shows a hungry baboon looking for an easy meal. The baboon first approaches the flock of geese with a cautious low stroll. Then he springs into action, pouncing on a pair of Egyptian geese guarding their nest.

Egyptian geese are incredibly aggressive and territorial. Together the pair fought the best they could with their wings and beaks. However, the hungry chacma baboon won.

9. Baboons Cuddle to Stay Warm

Species Of Mammals

Baboons are affectionate and love to cuddle for warmth.

©Grobler du Preez/Shutterstock.com

When it gets chilly, baboons rely on each other for warmth. It’s one of the cutest and most incredible baboon facts.

High up in the Simeon mountains of Ethiopia, you’ll find a lot of gelada baboon troops. It’s the only place in the world where this species of baboon exists.

The weather in these Ethiopian mountains is extreme. Locals describe it as being winter every single night!

Thankfully, the baboons can ride out the frigid temperatures with the help of cuddling. It’s normal to see groups of gelada baboons huddling and cuddling to make it through an icy night or morning.

10. New Technology Is Tracking Their Movements

Baboons are being fitted with GPS collars to track their movements.

©Florence Bond – Copyright A-Z Animals

Last, on our list of incredible baboon facts, GPS trackers could help guarantee their survival. Researchers and conservationists fit wild baboons with high-tech GPS collars to better understand the species.

The trackers help record the baboon’s movements throughout the day and night. The goal is to understand how these animals fight other monkeys and fend off hungry predators.

In the past, GPS collars could only report every few hours. But these trackers are high-tech. Now scientists can get a live reading on each baboon every second!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/adogslifephoto


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About the Author

Crystal is a dedicated writer at A-Z Animals, focusing on topics related to mammals, insects, and travel. With over a decade of experience in the world of research and writing, she also fulfills the role of a skilled video and audio engineer. Residing in sunny Florida, alligators are Crystal's favorite animal.

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