The Senegal bushbaby is a nocturnal primate found in Africa, south of the Sahara. The binomial name of this species is Galago senegalensis. The animal also goes by the following names: lesser bush baby, Senegal galago, or lesser galago. It is assumed that the name “bush baby” arose from the animal’s appearance or its cries.
Features of the Senegal Bushbaby
The lesser galago is a small primate weighing between 5 and 10 ounces and measures around 5-11 inches in length. This animal’s body is covered in thick woolly fur. The animal has large round eyes, shaped like saucers, which give them excellent night vision. The lesser galago has strong hind limbs to help in jumping and a long bushy tail for balance. Its ears have four divisions that can move independently to help the animal hunt insects in the dark. These ears are always folded flat against the head for protection when jumping through thick growth and also while resting. The Senegal bushbaby is omnivorous and mostly feed on insects, fruits, and leaves. The bushbaby can also feed on small birds.
Distribution and Population
The Senegal bushbabies live in areas that have dry forests and bush and also the savannah regions. The animals are native to more than 25 African countries. They can be found in Senegal, across the open African woodland to the East African countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.
The current population is stable, and this has seen the animal listed as Least Concern (LC) in the Red List of Threatened Species, which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are no significant threats to the Senegal bushbabies although recent studies have shown that Western chimpanzees are hunting the Senegal bushbabies using crafted spears.
The Senegal bushbabies are nocturnal and thus sleep during the day in hollow trees, nests, or dense vegetation. Although the animals are solitary at night, they always sleep in small groups that they call out to at dawn. The animals are very active at night but may be very slow when they are disturbed during the day. These galago species are polygynous and breed twice a year in November and February. The gestation period of a Senegal bushbaby is between 110 and 120 days. When born, the young ones are nursed for three and a half months, despite being ready for solid food when they are one month old. Sexual maturity varies with females maturing at around eight months of age and the males at around ten months old.
Interesting Facts About Senegal Bushbabies
The adult Senegal bushbaby has 18 different calls and always lands on its feet when it falls. Many African tribes have superstitions about the Senegal bushbaby, claiming that its chattering signifies the presence of a massive snake with a feathered head that kills evil intruders. The Senegal bushbaby’s eyes are highly sensitive to light, and their pupils become enlarged circles to see well in the dark while they are reduced to a tiny slit during the day.