Deep, Deep Trouble Again (100)
|Chacma baboon - Papio ursinus|
Early Sunday morning, my wife (Anna) and I left the Mkuze Game Reserve after we had a disastrous Saturday as far as game viewing or birding was concerned. Fortunately the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is just a stone throw away. We hopped across the ±80km and arrived in time to enjoy a relative full and enjoyable day at the park.
On our way to the Hilltop camp, at the Mkhombe area, ±0.5km from the Zincakeni Dam, we encountered a troop of baboons that was enjoying their midday siesta. We noticed one female that was obviously in charge of the crèche consisting of ±20-25 juveniles. Half of them were romping around in a thorn tree (which provided us with a great deal of laughter) and the other half were playing about under the shade of the tree.
One was not partaking or enjoying the fun though. He sat very still next to the female in charge and had a rather serious (if not somewhat sulky) look on his face. We could not help to notice an almost human type of behaviour and were under the impression that the little guy was guilty of some mischief and received a serious reprimand just before our arrival. He wasn't taking any chances as the alpha male approached and sat down about 2m away from them. So, he just sat there scratching his head, playing with his tail, looking downwards and not making any eye contact with the two adults. It looked like he was told to sit in the corner and not make a sound, only there was no corner and he stood out like a sore thumb. The look of guilt was clearly written all over his face and I could not help but to relate him to Bart Simpson's expression of being in "Deep, deep trouble again".
If you want to know more about what happened to our little friend you are welcome to jump to the 2nd posting in this series at What's So Funny.
A large, yet slender baboon, with a prominent muzzle (almost dog like) and a sloping back. They carry their tails in a characteristic posture as if 'broken' near the base.
Body: Up to 1m (3¼ ft). Tail: 40-75cm (15¾-29½ in).
Africa: Angola, Zambia to South Africa.
Widespread and common.
Savanna, rocky areas.
They live in troops of about 30-100 individuals, sleeping among rocks or in trees at night and searching for food during the day. They feed early and late in the day and rest up at midday.
Almost any plant and animal matter, such as leaves, fruit, insects, small invertebrates, lizards, birds and young mammals, is included in their diet, but they are predominantly vegetarian.
When on heat, the bare skin around the female's genital region swells and at the peak of her fertile period only high ranking males may mate with her. This is common to all savanna baboons. The female gives birth to a single young, rarely twins, after a gestation of 175-193 days, and suckles her offspring for about 8 months.
Leopard, eagles may also take small baboons.
Source: "The Marshal Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals" by Dr. Philip Whitfield, Marshall Publishing.
Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.