Tag Archives: Thick-tailed Bushbaby

Thick-tailed Bushbaby

Otolemur crassicaudatus

Also known as the Greater Galago, the Thick-tailed Bushbaby is a noctural primate named for its loud call that sounds very much like a crying human baby. Including their tail they can grow to 80cm in length, and weigh just over a kilogram.

Thick-tailed Bushbabies are found in riverine thickets, dense woodland and forests, mostly in areas of high rainfall. They subsist mainly on wild fruits and berries, seeds, flowers and tree gum, but will also eat insects, small reptiles and mammals, eggs and birds up to the size of guineafowls.

Groups of 2 – 6 are usually made up of related females and their young accompanied by a single mature male. Home ranges are marked by urinating on their hands and feet. Group members forage singly at night but sleep together in hide-aways like thick vegetation, densely leaved trees or self-constructed nests during the day. They’re mostly searching for food up in the trees, being capable of jumps over two meters far, though they spend more time on the ground than other kinds of bushbaby.

Most females give birth to 2 babies in spring and summer. The female carries the babies along on her back or hanging from her stomach when she goes in search of food. Greater Galagos fall prey to owls, pythons and leopards and other predators capable of climbing trees, though they are feisty and can dish out a nasty bite. Many die in bush fires. They have a life expectancy of up to 14 years.

The Thick-tailed Galago occurs widely over Central and Eastern Africa, but is restricted to the wetter eastern parts of Southern Africa. In South Africa they occur only in the north of Kwazulu-Natal and the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.