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What Is a Bushbaby?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 March 2014
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A bushbaby is a very small, nocturnal primate found in Africa from the galago or Galagidae family. These animals can usually be found foraging for food or sleeping in the treetops. They have large eyes and ears, as well as large back legs, which are used for climbing and jumping.

Bushbabies can be found in the wooded areas of Africa. The name bushbaby stems from the animal's appearance, as well as its cries. Along with being rather small, a bushbaby's face is a similar to that of a young child. The sounds that they make also resemble the cries of a small child.

Like other primates, the entire body of a bushbaby, excluding its large ears, is covered in fur, or hair. This coat is generally thick, but soft. The color of the fur can either be gray, brown, rust, or gold.

Unlike other primates, the bushbaby is an excellent jumper. On average, one of these animals can jump to heights of almost 7 feet (2.1 meters). The highest recorded bushbaby jump, however, was 23 feet (7 meters). Its long hind legs are extremely strong, and these make the extraordinary jumps possible.

To balance while in the air, this animal also has a long tail. It is actually longer than its body. A bushbaby's tail can grow to be as long as 1.5 feet (47 centimeters).

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The eyes of a bushbaby are also very large. They are sensitive to light as well. During the day, the pupils of the bushbaby's eyes are nothing but a thin slit. When it gets dark, however, the pupils expand into a large circle. This allows the creature to see very well in the dark.

The bushbaby is a nocturnal animal, meaning that it is active only at night. During the night, it will venture away from its nest in search of food. A typical diet of this type of primate can include fruits, flowers, insects, and other small animals, like rodents or lizards.

After the sun comes up, bushbabies can usually be found sleeping in the trees. Sometimes, they will make a nest from leaves and twigs. Other times, they may be found napping in a hole or between the branches of the tree.

Closely related female bushbabies, along with their young offspring, will usually be found together in a group. When a male bushbaby become sexually mature, usually around eight months, he will leave the group. Ideally he will establish a territory located near a female group, so he can mate with the females. Otherwise, he may join a bachelor group of males until he can establish his own territory.

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