Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 17.1 years (captivity) Observations: Although it has been argued that these animals live up to 18.8 years (Ernest 2003), record longevity in captivity is 17.1 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Behavior

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Communication in all galagos involves a variety of modalities.

Visual communication, such as body posture, is used between conspecifics. These animals are also known to have a variety of facial expressions to communicate emotional states, such as aggression, affiliation, and fear.

Urinating on hands before walking, while improving grip, also allows the animals to mark their territories with scents.

Tactile communication, in play, aggression, and grooming, is an important part of the lives of bush babies. Tactile communication is especially important between a mother and her offspring, as well as between mates.

Finally, bush babies are known to use vocal communication with one another. Alarm calls, fear calls, aggressive calls, and contact calls are common. In fact, the common name for these animals derives from the similarity between some of their calls and the crying of human babies.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Conservation Status

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Lesser bush babies are one of the more successful African prosimians. They have been studied quite extensively in South Africa.

Galago senegalensis is listed on CITES Appendix II for most of its range, and Appendix III in Ghana.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii; appendix iii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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These creatures are not known to have any negative impacts on human economies.

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Because of its small size, large appealing eyes and general fluffiness, lesser bushbabies are often kept as pets in Africa.

Positive Impacts: pet trade

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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As insect predators, these animals probably help to control populations of their prey. They may also aid in dispersal of seeds through their frugivory. As a potential prey species, they may affect predator populations.

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Trophic Strategy

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Bush babies are nocturnal and arboreal feeders. Their favorite food is grasshoppers, but they will also consume small birds, eggs, fruits, seeds and flowers. They mainly feed on insects during the wet seasons, but during drought they feed solely on the gum that flows out of some of the trees in the acacia-dominated woodlands.

Animal Foods: birds; eggs; insects

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers; sap or other plant fluids

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Distribution

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Bush babies occupy the forested and bush regions of Africa south of the Sahara. Their range also extends to some nearby islands, including Zanzibar.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Habitat

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Lesser bush babies are well-adapted to living in drier areas. They generally occupy the the savannah woodlands south of the Sahara and are excluded only from the southern tip of Africa.

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Expectancy

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Their life span is approximately 10 years in captivity, but is probably no longer than 3 to 4 years in the wild.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
10 years.

Typical lifespan
Status: wild:
3 to 4 years.

Typical lifespan
Status: captivity:
10 (high) years.

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Morphology

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Average length of Galago senegalensis is 130 mm. Tail length varies between 15 and 41 mm. Members of the genus weigh between 95 and 300 g.

Galago sensgalensis has thick, woolly, rather long and wavy fur which is silvery gray to brown dorsally and slightly lighter underneath. Ears are large, with four transverse ridges that can be independently or simultaneously bent back and wrinkled downward from the tips toward the base. The ends of the fingers and toes have flat disks of thickened skin, which aid in grasping tree limbs and slippery surfaces. Their tongues have a cartilaginous protuberance underneath the fleshy tongue (like a second tongue) which is used in conjunction with the front teeth in grooming.

The tarsus of galagos is greatly elongated to 1/3 the length of the shinbone, which allows these animals to adopt the hopping gate of a kangaroo. Galagos also have a greatly increased muscle mass in the hind legs, which also enables them to perform large leaps.

Range mass: 95 to 300 g.

Average length: 130 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average basal metabolic rate: 0.764 W.

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Predation on galagos certainly occurs, although details are lacking. Likely predators include small cats, snakes, and owls. Bush babies are known to escape from predators by leaping through the trees. They use alarm calls to alert conspecifics of danger, and some species in the genus Galago have been known to mob smaller predators.

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Reproduction

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Galagos are typically polygynous breeders. Male compete for access to the home ranges of several females. Male competetive ability is usually related to size.

Mating System: polygynous

Lesser bush babies breeds twice a year, once at the onset of rains in November and a second time during the end of rains in February. Females build a nest of leaves in which they bear and raise their young. Bush babies generally have one or two young per litter (rarely 3) which are born from April to November after a gestation period of 110 to 120 days. Young bush babies generally nurse for about three and a half months, although they can eat solid food at the end of the first month.

Breeding interval: Lesser bush babies breed twice per year.

Breeding season: Lesser bush babies breed once at the onset of rains in November and a second time during the end of rains in February

Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.

Range gestation period: 110 to 120 days.

Average weaning age: 3.5 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 12.2 g.

Average number of offspring: 1.5.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
300 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
240 days.

The mother nurses her young for about three and half months. The young generally cling to the mother's fur in transport, or she may carry them about in her mouth by the napes of their necks. The mother also leaves young unattended in the nest while she forages. The role of males in parental care has not been documented.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

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Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galago_senegalensis.html
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Liz Ballenger, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Senegal bushbaby

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The Senegal bushbaby (Galago senegalensis), also known as the Senegal galago, the lesser galago or the lesser bush baby, is a small, nocturnal primate, a member of the galago family Galagidae.

The name "bush baby" may come either from the animals' cries or from their appearance. They are agile leapers, and run swiftly along branches. They live in Africa south of the Sahara and nearby islands including Zanzibar. They tend to live in dry woodland regions and savannah regions. They are small primates (130 mm and 95 - 300 grams) with woolly thick fur that ranges from silvery grey to dark brown. They have large eyes, giving them good night vision; strong hind limbs; and long tails, which help them balance. Their ears are made up of four segments that can bend back individually, to aid their hearing when hunting insects at night. Their omnivorous diet is a mixture of other small animals, including birds and insects, fruit, seeds, flowers, eggs, nuts, and tree gums.

A Senegal bushbaby, at an aquarium in Tokyo, looks around carefully.

Bushbabies reproduce twice a year, at the beginning of the rains (November) and the end (February). They are polygynous, and the females raise their young in nests made from leaves. They have 1 - 2 babies per litter, with gestation period being 110 – 120 days. Bush babies are born with half-closed eyes, unable to move about independently. After a few days, the mother carries the infant in her mouth, and leaves it on convenient branches while feeding.

Adult females maintain territories, but share them with their offspring. Males leave their mothers' territories after puberty, but females remain, forming social groups consisting of closely related females and their immature young. Adult males maintain separate territories, which overlap with those of the female social groups; generally, one adult male mates with all the females in an area. Males who have not established such territories sometimes form small bachelor groups.

Bush babies communicate both by calling to each other and by marking their paths with their urine. At the end of the night, group members use a special rallying call and gather to sleep in a nest made of leaves, in a group of branches, or in a hole in a tree.

Predation by chimpanzees

A recent study of the Western chimpanzee has revealed that local chimps hunt the Senegal bushbaby using fashioned spears.[3] During the study it was observed that the chimps searched for hollows where a bushbaby might reasonably be expected to sleep. Once such a roost was found, the chimps broke a branch from a nearby tree and sharpened the end using their teeth. They would then rapidly and repeatedly stab into the roost. After a period of stabbing, they removed the wooden spear and tasted or smelled the tip, presumably seeking blood. Once success was confirmed in such a manner they reached into or smashed the roost, retrieved the body of the bushbaby and ate it.

Though this method has been observed to be successful once in twenty-two attempts, it is more energy efficient than the traditional method of chasing the small mammals and cracking their skulls on a nearby rock.[4]

Subspecies

There are four subspecies of the Senegal bushbaby:

  • Galago senegalensis senegalensis
  • Galago senegalensis braccatus
  • Galago senegalensis sotikae
  • Galago senegalensis dunni

References

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Senegal bushbaby: Brief Summary

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The Senegal bushbaby (Galago senegalensis), also known as the Senegal galago, the lesser galago or the lesser bush baby, is a small, nocturnal primate, a member of the galago family Galagidae.

The name "bush baby" may come either from the animals' cries or from their appearance. They are agile leapers, and run swiftly along branches. They live in Africa south of the Sahara and nearby islands including Zanzibar. They tend to live in dry woodland regions and savannah regions. They are small primates (130 mm and 95 - 300 grams) with woolly thick fur that ranges from silvery grey to dark brown. They have large eyes, giving them good night vision; strong hind limbs; and long tails, which help them balance. Their ears are made up of four segments that can bend back individually, to aid their hearing when hunting insects at night. Their omnivorous diet is a mixture of other small animals, including birds and insects, fruit, seeds, flowers, eggs, nuts, and tree gums.

A Senegal bushbaby, at an aquarium in Tokyo, looks around carefully.

Bushbabies reproduce twice a year, at the beginning of the rains (November) and the end (February). They are polygynous, and the females raise their young in nests made from leaves. They have 1 - 2 babies per litter, with gestation period being 110 – 120 days. Bush babies are born with half-closed eyes, unable to move about independently. After a few days, the mother carries the infant in her mouth, and leaves it on convenient branches while feeding.

Adult females maintain territories, but share them with their offspring. Males leave their mothers' territories after puberty, but females remain, forming social groups consisting of closely related females and their immature young. Adult males maintain separate territories, which overlap with those of the female social groups; generally, one adult male mates with all the females in an area. Males who have not established such territories sometimes form small bachelor groups.

Bush babies communicate both by calling to each other and by marking their paths with their urine. At the end of the night, group members use a special rallying call and gather to sleep in a nest made of leaves, in a group of branches, or in a hole in a tree.

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