Hamadryas Baboon

Species: Papio hamadryas.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Male Ht. 2.2 ft., Wt. 40 lbs. Female Ht. 2 ft., Wt. 22 lbs. Coat: basically brown-agouti, adult males have silvery grey cape over shoulders. Face and perineum are hairless and red. Infants have a black natal coat. Large canines, esp. males. Hands have opposable thumbs useful for picking up small food items such as grass stems and seeds, and are good at digging up roots and tubers. Quadrupedal. Longevity: about 15 years in wild.

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION: Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, S. Yemen.

ECOLOGY: Terrestrial foragers. Rocky deserts and subdesert with some grass and thorn bush. Sleep on cliffs or in trees. Home range: 30 km2 Day range: 10 km. Population density: variable, approx. 5 / km2

DIET: Grass, seeds, tubers, bulbs.

SOCIAL ORGANIZATION: complex hierarchical groups composed of polygynous one-male-units, clans, and bands. Harems usually include 2-5 females. Foraging groups typically are clans, with about 2-3 OMUs. Females are herded by males, frequently "kidnapped" as juveniles. Male and female transfer; male kin groups (?). Frequent play among juveniles. Complex social relationships among various levels of social hierarchy.

REPRODUCTION: Males sexually mature at 7 yrs, but unlikely to be successful reproducers until 10+. Females sexually mature at 4 yrs. Gestation length: 6 months. Moderate estrus swellings. Litter size: 1. Interbirth interval: 1-2 yrs. Infant birth wt.: 3 lbs.

PARENTAL CARE: Infants carried by females for 1 yr. Males protective of infants and juveniles. Weaning at 1 yr.

TOPIC OF SPECIAL INTEREST: Complex social interactions, estrus swellings, coalitions, sexual dimorphism, male philopatry.


Kummer, H. 1968. Social organization of hamadryas baboons. Chicago: University of Chicago press.

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