1 minute read

Bushbabies: Galagidae

Physical Characteristics

The largest bushbaby is the brown greater bushbaby. An adult male weighs 3.1 pounds (1.4 kilograms). Body length is 12.5 inches (31.5 centimeters) with a 16.5-inch (41-centimeter) tail. The smallest bushbaby is the mouse-size Demidoff's bushbaby. An adult male weighs 2.5 ounces (65 grams). Its body is 5 inches (13 centimeters) long, with a 7-inch (18-centimeter) tail. Females are somewhat smaller than males.

Bushbabies are usually gray, reddish, or brown with lighter underparts, having gray or dark eye patches. Their fur is thick and soft, and larger bushbabies have quite long bushy tails that help them balance. All bushbabies have rounded heads, short pointed faces with forward-facing eyes, and a pointed snout, or nose area. They can rotate their head in a full circle. Their ears individually bend backward or wrinkle forward, enabling them to better locate sounds. Bushbabies have a special reflective, or mirror-like layer at the back of their retina, or light-receiving, part of the eye. This lets them see in extremely dim light. It also makes their eyes shine in the dark, like a cat's eye.

Bushbabies have larger hindlegs, or back legs, than forelimbs, or front legs. Very strong hindlegs and very long anklebones enable most species to move extremely quickly and accurately. A bushbaby's hands and feet have five long slim fingers, or digits, on each forelimb and five long, slim toes on each hindlimb. Their fingertips have round flat pads of thickened skin that help them grip firmly onto branches. All digits have nails, except the second digit of the hind foot, which has a long curved claw for grooming or cleaning. For grooming, bushbabies also use their lower incisors, or front teeth, and pointed canine teeth as a toothcomb. Underneath the tongue is a false-tongue, which is used to clean the toothcomb.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsBushbabies: Galagidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Senegal Bushbaby (galago Senegalensis): Species Accounts, Northern Greater Bushbaby (otolemur Garnettii): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BUSHBABIES AND PEOPL