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Nick Tennick

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Nick has always loved the outdoors and never turns down an opportunity for an adventure. After finishing high school in Johannesburg, where he grew up, Nick spent a gap year in the Zimbabwean bushveld which truly sparked his love for wildlife and conservation ...

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on What Do Baboons Eat?

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Fascinating blog Nick, thank you for the information on baboons.

Hi Nick, it seems a peculiarity of the dominant male to feed like that. Meat is a quick great source of proteins and fats so it’s a right of the leader and he will share it with nobody else. It is quite awful to watch, as they have no selected predation technique and simply eat the lamb alive…

Indeed, Francesca. It was quite a graphic scene – fortunately we did not witness him catching the lamb.

Thanks, Nick, for this interesting blog on baboons diets. I had not known that they have mouth and cheek pouches for storing food. You wrote that the baboon that caught the impala lamb was a selfish one because he didn’t share any of his food with others. Do they normally share food?

Hi Christa, He did not share the lamb likely because he was one of the larger dominant males of the troop. I am not sure if baboons do share their food as their diet is so varied and often includes small insects and fruits.

Great sighting Nick and a wonderful post. You say they are rarely seen at Londolozi – could that be as result of the high leopard numbers in the Sabi Sands or is it a roosting habitat issue? Would love to know what percentage of their diet is protein? Chat soon HK

Hi Nick, shame the poor little impala lambs get caught and eaten up. But I suppose that is also a way in which to make sure there is not too many impala’s. They eat just about everything and the little baboons are cute. The do good for the economic system and they deserve their place in the bush.

Thanks for the comment Valmai. Indeed they play an important role in the Greater Kruger ecosystem by controlling the number of Impala as well as seed dispersal and insect control.

This was a fascinating blog today Nick referencing the diet of baboons. I knew they were omnivores but hadn’t realized that they actually hunted mammals as large as an impala lamb, although given the size of the male baboon in contrast to the lamb, it does make sense for something so small and weak. Their family units seem very strong although it seems the dominant male is not opposed to chasing away or killing another mature male that tries to mate with his females. Thanks for adding this article to the other informative blogs you and the team contribute to our continuing education of the flora and fauna found in the Sabi Sand region of South Africa.

Absolute pleasure Denise. Thanks for reading the blogs and constantly engaging with the team. We are pleased to share the wonderful stories and knowledge of the African bush.

Baboons seem to have a reputation for cruelty. A troop was witnessed playing with an impala lamb for days until they had their fill and finally consumed him. That cruelty aspect in the species (if you think of it humans also display that cruelty – so is this cruelty feature particular to the species or just random) makes me shiver.

I heard leopards relish the baboon meat. And they are so afraid of leopards, in some areas, troops sleep on the power lines that traverse certain game reserves. At least a leopard cannot climb a power line.
Of utilizing man made structures for survival ….

Hi Amazia, the leopards do love the taste of Baboon meat and are a large predator of their species. With regard to the cruelty of baboons, I would disagree and rather justify that behaviour as playful which is in their nature. They are predators at the end of the day and will feed on meat to survive.

So interesting, Nick. I had no idea they foraged for 5-10km/day or that they would go after impala lambs. Their opportunistic and varied diets no doubt play a huge role in their adaptability and success. I read in Boyd’s book about how they can be quite the nuisance in camp. 😳

Hi Chelsea, thanks for the comment. Yes they can be a nuisance in camp however they haven’t figured out how to use the new latches on the doors in camp!
But baboons are very knowledgeable and problem solvers which makes them unique.

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