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Bushbabies: Galagidae

Northern Greater Bushbaby (otolemur Garnettii): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The northern greater bushbaby, also known as Garnett's bushbaby, Garnett's galago, small-eared galago, or greater bushbaby, has reddish to grayish brown fur. It lacks facial markings and has very large, light-sensitive eyes. At night, the pupil opens into a complete circle to allow for better vision in the dark. Adult males weigh 1.75 pounds (795 grams) with females slightly smaller. Body length, including the head, is 10.5 inches (26.5 centimeters), and they have a 14.5-inch (36.5-centimeter) long bushy tail.

Geographic range: Northern greater bushbabies are found in northeastern Africa.

The northern greater bushbaby eats fruit and insects. (© Tom & Pat Leeson/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Northern greater bushbabies live in coastal and highland forests.

Diet: The northern greater bushbaby usually feeds on fruits and insects.

Behavior and reproduction: The northern greater bushbaby adult male may mate with several females. Adult females give birth to one or two infants at a time. They are pregnant for eighteen weeks. Until two weeks of age, the babies stay in a leafy nest. They then cling to the mother's fur as she travels searching for food.

The northern greater bushbaby runs and walks on all four limbs along tree branches, following regular pathways. Occasionally it searches for food on the ground, where it may hop like a kangaroo, or jump-run, hopping first on hind legs, then on forelegs. It hides during the day to avoid predators, such as large snakes.

Northern greater bushbaby males and females often share feeding territories as well as nests. However they usually feed alone at night. Adult males will tolerate younger or lesser males within their feeding range. During the day, these bushbabies return to tree hollows or vine tangles to sleep as a group.

Northern greater bushbabies and people: Northern greater bushbabies have no known interaction with people.

Conservation status: These bushbabies are rather common and not immediately threatened. ∎



Alden, Peter C. National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

Coppard, Kit. Africa's Animal Kingdom. London: PRC Publishing Ltd, 2001.

Kennaway, Adrienne. Bushbaby. Manningtree, U.K.: Happy Cat Books, 2002.

Maynard, Thane. Primates: Apes, Monkeys, and Prosimians. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, 1999.

Ricciuti, Edward R., and Bruce S. Glassman. What on Earth is a Galago? Woodbridge, CT: Blackbirch Press, 1995.

Sleeper, Barbara. Primates. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1997.

Stevenson, William. Bushbabies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1980.


Bearder, Simon K. "Calls of the Wild." Natural History (August 1995): 48–58.

Churchman, Deborah. "Meet the Primates!" Ranger Rick 31, no. 10 (October 1997).

"Monkeyshines on the Primates." Monkeyshines Publications (1994): 39.

Stewart, Doug. "Prosimians Find a Home Far From Home." National Wildlife (Feb/Mar 1998): 33–35.

"Wildlife of Tropical Rain Forests." National Geographic World (January 2000): 22–25.

Web sites:

Animal Diversity Web. "Galagonidae." http://www.primates.com/primate/galagonidae.html (accessed on June 23, 2004).

The Chaffee Zoo. "Lesser Bush Baby." http://www.chaffeezoo.org/animals/bushbaby.html (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Singapore Zoo Docent. "Galagos or Bushbabies." http://www.szgdocent.org/pp/p-galago.htm (accessed on June 23, 2004).

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