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Females Rule In Baboon Families

May 22, 2008
Baboons are social creatures and these social bond scientists believe are responsible and even critical to the survival of the baboon.

They often sleep, travel, feed and socialize together in groups of about 50 consisting of seven to eight males baboons and as high as 16 to 20 females plus their off spring.

Just like any other animal in the Africa baboons have natural enemies including the leopard which hunts the baboon for food. The most vulnerable are the females and the young who must rely on the safety in numbers and also on the social bonds they establish with high ranking members of the society.

A troop of baboon consists of groups of female usually related, with the highest ranking female being the oldest. It is round her that the other members gather to groom one another and even sleep.

Although much of the female baboon's time is spent with the groups they were born and raised in, they occasionally will mix and play with females from other groups often forming close relationships with them.

For young baboons to mate with the females they must be welcomed into these social groups.

The entry of a male into this society takes a great deal of work. This is due to the strong bonds that the females form between their relatives and friends make it very hard for a male looking for a mate.

Young males will leave the troops they were raised in and move in and out of other troops. Frequent fights often break out to determine dominance over access to baboon females. The ranking of these males constantly changes during this period.

MatIt often requires great social skills for the male baboon to break in to these social female groups. This processes of finding a mate often starts with a male slowly and carefully cultivating friendship with one member of the female group.

It sometimes involves the male sitting close to her and making friendly gestures. Depending on his skills getting close could take weeks to even months of patient persistence. A sure indicator that the male has established a bond with the female is when he is able to groom her.

This bond then serves as a passport to friendships with members of her group and could even lead to him mating with one or more of them.

Female baboons when pregnant or with young will often form special relations with two or even three adult males. often keeping them close while foraging and huddling together while resting or sleeping during the night. These males are expected to defend the female and her off spring from other members of the troop.

Baboon Facts

Female baboons which are one-half the size of adult males,lack the male's ruff (long hairs around the neck), but are otherwise similar in appearance to their male counterparts.

Baboons use over 30 vocalizations to communicate ranging from grunts to barks to screams. Nonvocal gestures include yawns, lip smacking and shoulder shrugging.
About the Author
Jerry Wanga is editor of http://naady.com an online website on Africa, wildlife and travel information as well as balloon Safaris. You can view more info on the website.
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