Hat’s off to baboons

A rustle of fur.

Sunbleached tresses, all windblown and tousled.  The Cape Peninsula Chacma baboons have a touch of the ‘beachcomber’ in their looks.  They’re rather unique in that they include shellfish and marine invertebrates in their diet and it’s quite a treat to observe them foraging in rock pools.

In contrast here is a shot of a male baboon from the arid regions of Namibia; it’s a wonder that baboons can survive in such extreme environments with little available water and soaring temperatures.  Recently I came across an article on their behavioural adaptations and the ability to thermoregulate the body core.  Temperature fluctuations occur when drinking water and sand bathing and could alter as much as 5.3*C.

Short back and sides, sparsely clad fur.

The Baboon species is the most adaptable of the non-human primates inhabiting a range of habitats from coastal, savannah, forest and desert ……. and some might even say that they’re pretty adept at living on the urban edge.

 

 

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Spring: new tweets

Spring has wafted in bringing some relief from the drought as swathes of wild flowers stretch across the veld.  There’s an air of triumph about  – a flap of wings and the squawking of little hatchlings.   A welcome sight in our backyard is a newly fledged Cape wagtail chick.  It plopped out of the nest like a little plum pudding and landed with a bump. The parents continue to fuss around encouraging it to fly, following with encouraging tweets.

Initially there was a setback with the first nest when it was abandoned after the local baboon troop came for a visit through the neighbourhood. They’d spent a week constructing a perfect little structure and had just lined it with soft feathers when the furry visitors rudely clambered right up the very jasmine creeper where it was sited and partially dislodged it in their rush to jump over the wall.  The birds were so spooked that they took off and disappeared for a while before returning to choose a new site to rebuild.  Happily there was a successful outcome and if the pattern of past years is repeated the adult pair may well produce two more batches of chicks this season.

Baboons forage at low tide while Caracal lurks nearby