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Bushbabies: Galagidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Bushbabies are nocturnal, searching for food at night. They usually remain in trees, but occasionally travel on the ground. Most leap from branch to branch. Some can leap long distances from one branch to another. Others hop on their strong hind legs between branch supports. Some can hang onto vertical supports, such as tree trunks. While most move quickly, the thick-tailed bushbaby sometimes moves very slowly and quietly.

Bushbabies usually sleep in social groups of eight to twenty members. During the day, they rest in hollow trees, tree forks, or old bird nests. Some make sleeping nests from leaves. In a few species, a mated pair and their young may sleep together. In other groups, the adult male does not sleep in the group-sleeping nest. He keeps in contact with females when they are outside the sleeping nest.


The common name bushbaby comes from their loud wailing territorial sound, which sounds somewhat like a human baby crying. Bushbabies make a variety of different sounds, as well. The Senegal bushbaby makes a high-pitched scream when upset, has an alarm call which includes grunting, clucking, whistling, wailing, and sneezing, as well as grunts when it is ready to fight. Infants call to their mothers with a "tsic" sound, and mothers reply with a cooing or soft hooting sound.

Bushbabies forage, or search for food, by themselves. Males have larger territories, or feeding areas, than females. These often overlap those of several female groups. Scent, sounds, and facial expressions all play a role in bushbaby communication.

An adult male bushbaby may mate with several females. Twice a year, one to three infants are born. The young are fully furred with their eyes open at birth. Bushbaby young spend a week or longer in a hidden tree nest. The mother may leave them there while searching for food, or she may travel, carrying her young in her mouth. When she eats, these babies are placed to cling onto branches. Later, bushbaby young may ride on their mother's back as she searches for food. A baby is weaned, or stops feeding on breastmilk, at about two months of age. It becomes independent at about four months of age. Females may remain in their birth area or travel to new areas.

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