This is another post on the theme of baboon foraging – whether a seafood repast, or vegetarian delight, the baboons here on the Cape Peninsula are masters at sourcing a varied diet. Though at times there are opportunities to raid for ‘human derived food’, for the most part they’re out foraging in the natural environment.
I came across this scene in the late afternoon when this troop of baboons was making it’s way to an overnight sleep-site. Most had well stocked cheek pouches but a few were still adding to this stash with a last snack or two. Of interest was a mother with a baby riding jockey-style, confidently perched atop her back, munching on a clutch of succulent grass roots. Suddenly she veered off into the bush. Aha! She’s spotted something of interest, i thought and stopped to watch. Up she jumped and junior had to react quickly, but for the arched tail (Chacma baboons belong to the Old World monkey group and do not have prehensile gripping tails), he may have slid off ignominiously. What was the prize up there in the shrubbery ….. ?
It was a surprise to find that she’d discovered a rain spider’s (Palystes superciliosus) egg sac. It appeared she was after the eggs, as I examined the image in close-up view and couldn’t make out any hatchlings. The mystery was where did Mother Rain Spider lurk, as they have a reputation for aggressively guarding their egg sacs until the spiderlings hatch?! Now where were we with that menu? A couple of weeks ago I observed this same troop sucking on condom wrappers – this incident left me wondering about the dangers of spiders and whether baboons suffer from spider bites as we humans do?
12 thoughts on “What’s on the Menu?”
Reminds me of the vervet monkeys in Umdloti… The the raids on the residents kitchens, stolen bananas and bread. 😊
Well spotted! Your posts are always of great interest.
Cute picture of the little jockey, but I hate to think of the size of Mama spider if that is her egg nest!
🙂 little jockey was pretty precocious! Yes mama spider is in that genre of ‘big’! One of the Huntsman family – the biggest of the non-tarantulas.
Oh that must have been so fascinating to watch! And for sure I never would have thought of baboons eating spider eggs.
What I find intriguing is how varied their diet is! From gnawing on mineral-rich calcite limestone rocks to protein rich ostrich eggs and now spiders’ eggs.
Spider eggs must be really delicious or really nutritious to make the risk of a bite worthwhile.
Fascinating behaviour you’ve captured, Liz!
Aren’t they so full of surprises – an omnivore’s rounded diet! Also of interest was how well hidden the egg sac was and how determined she was in retrieving it. Almost as if there was a prior memory of a past find in that particular bush. They’re pretty canny creatures!
What bizarre food choices, needs must I suppose 😦
Observing these weird choices makes me aware of how intently they ‘pick’ over the environment for food opportunities! Might we say they have ‘adventurous’ palates?!