The fascinating bush baby

The fascinating bush babies

Wiseman Chiduku

CREATURES known as Bush babies in English and Chidavira in Shona language are small animals with large ears and eyes with greyish coat. They belong to the galago family. Their heads are small and rounded. The bushbabies are extremely mobile.

We have so many species of galagos which include Zanzibar galago (galago zanzibaricus), dwarf galago (galago demidov), Allen’s galago (galago alleni) and Thomas galago (galago thomasi).

These animals have a wider distribution. Most of them are forest dwellers. Some are known to habitat the woodland savanna especially in acacia forests near rivers.

Bush babies are highly nocturnal and in most cases jump from branch to branch in trees. They have somersaulting and jumping skills which is a result of their long hind legs.

They may also be seen in groups not exceeding 15 and they sleep together in clusters of self constructed nests of tree branches and leaves.

They are territorial animals with home ranges of around 4 hectares but their home ranges vary according to food availability. They feed on gum sucking sap from preferred tree species but a wide range of insects compliment their diet. 

Birth periods vary but most births are noted around August and September (in Zimbabwe and Zambia). A litter of 2 young one weigh about 50 to 75 grams at birth after a gestation period of abt 130 days.

When one drives during the night, the eyes of the bush babies reflect back and dazzle. Their eyes have a modified way of trapping light during the day and then use it during the night. Most animals which are nocturnal hunters such as cats do the same.

  • Wiseman Chiduku is a nature enthusiast.

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