Baboon, Hamadryas

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Physical Characteristics

Hamadryas have a very distinct sexual dimorphism. Males are usually twice the size of the females. The males can measure up to 31 inches, not including the tail, and weigh up to 66 lbs. The females usually top out at 33 lbs. and won’t get much larger than 18 inches in length. Males also sport a silver grey coat as opposed to the females’ soft brown fur.

Habitat & Diet

The species mainly makes its home in the arid sub-deserts and hilly to mountainous ranges of Ethiopia along the southern edge of the Red Sea. They are never found far from water and will migrate with the seasons as needed. They eat what the season provides, choosing seeds, grasses and roots during the wet season, and relying on leaves and small vertebrates and insects during the dry parts of the year.

Social Behavior

Possibly the most fascinating aspect of hamadryas baboons is their social structure. Small, one-male groups called units are the base level of a much more complex system. Units will often unite to make larger groups called clans. Within clans, the leader males often share a familial tie or are very familiar with one another and the older or bigger of the males will take the role as alpha of the clan. Two to four clans may come together to form a band, and even then, multiple bands can come together to form what is called a troop. These can be comprised of several hundred baboons and will often share cliff faces and other shelters with one another when bonded.


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Fascinating Facts

    • Regal may not be the first word that comes to mind looking at these baboons, but the ancient Egyptians didn’t see it that way. Hamadryas baboons were often depicted in ancient Egyptian art and revered as sacred animals and servants of Thoth, the God of Knowledge and Scribe to the Gods. Hence their unofficial name, the ‘sacred baboon’.

Status In The Wild

The Hamadryas is classified as Least Concern. They face little encroachment from humans in their environment and have only a handful of natural predators. Because of the high survival rate they can live up to 30 years in the wild.

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