Introduction to Bush Babies as Pets



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Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.

Keeping and Caring for Bush Babies as Pets

The viral videos featuring the undeniably adorable bush baby are infectious. These unique animals possess an astounding jumping ability and large eyes set in a human-like face. Many people see bush babies (with their equally marketable name) and wish to keep them as pets.

What is it like to own a bush baby as a pet and are they even available in the pet trade?

Facts about Bush Babies or Galagos

  • Species: Galago and Otolemur spp. (in the pet trade)
  • Lifespan: For lesser bush babies, 3-4 years in the wild and around 10 in captivity [1]. Greater bush babies can live more than 20 years in captivity [5].
  • Size: For lessers, 130mm long on average and 95-300g [1]. Greaters are 297 to 373 mm and 2.20 to 4.41 pounds [5].
  • Diet: Omnivorous: Sap, fruits, insects, seeds, flowers, small birds [1][5].

Bush babies, which are also known as galagos, are small to medium-sized nocturnal primates native to the continent of Africa. They are in the family Galagidae and are not monkeys or lemurs. The commonly used name “bush baby” either refers to the crying sounds the animal makes or its wide-eyed appearance.

There are different species of bush baby, and what may be immediately apparent to people who’ve seen them in viral videos is that there are significant differences in size and appearance between certain types.

By far, the bush baby most popular with viewers are those species in the Genus Galago, which are known as lesser bush babies, while the larger ones are more often seen in North America and are in the genus Otolemur (the species is probably Otolemur garnettii), which are known as “greater” bush babies in the United States.

  • Greater bush babies eat mostly gums, saps, fruits, and insects [5].
  • Lesser bush babies are more omnivorous, consuming small birds, eggs, insects (preferably grasshoppers), and gum depending on the season [1].
  • Greater bush babies are sexually dimorphic; males are much larger than females [5].
  • The mating systems of most galagos are monogamous or polygynous [5].
  • Bush babies are excellent jumpers. Greater bush babies can leap as far as 2 meters [5].
  • Greater bush babies are active for 9-12 hours per day [5].

Bush Babies in the Pet Trade

Bush babies are not popular pets in the United States even relative to other primates. The Senegal bush baby (Galago senegalensis), a lesser bush baby species that is the most popular lorisoid (or nocturnal prosimian) in zoos [8], are sometimes owned as pets in other countries such as Japan and often in Africa [1], although keeping native animals is illegal in South Africa [2].

Possibly kept as pets in the past, the species no longer seems to be present in the United States pet trade as of 2020, but greater bush babies are. It is also now illegal to import primates to the United States for the pet trade.

Lesser and greater bush babies are listed as least concern by the IUCN and the populations of both are considered to have a low risk of being harmed, but greater bush babies may be affected by habitat fragmentation [5]. Both species are well-studied and there is no evidence that they are harmed by the pet trade

Buying a Bush Baby

In the United States, a greater bush baby generally costs around $4000+ as of 2020. Being less common exotic pets, their price has risen steadily over the years and that trend will most likely continue.

The few breeders who produce bush babies also have about 1-2 young born per birth. In addition to this, bush babies breed once annually [5].

Legality

Along with other primates, bush babies are not legal in the majority of states.

  • They are obviously not legal in states like California that have strict bans on most exotic mammals, including ferrets.
  • They are also illegal in most Northeastern states like New York, Connecticut, and Maine.
  • They are currently legal in North Carolina, Florida (with a Class 3 license), Nevada and Texas.

They might also be legal in the states listed here, of course, the only way to find out for sure is to contact your state authorities, as well as the officials for your city, town, and neighborhood. This website cannot guarantee the legality of exotics, as the rules and interpretations of those rules are always shifting.

Bush Baby Husbandry

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about keeping bush babies as pets available, and the small amounts that do exist come from anecdotal information by private owners and breeders.

Much of the formal knowledge about captive galagos is held by the Duke Lemur Center of North Carolina, and this facility is adamantly against owning primates as pets and keeps their information restricted to certain zoos.

Housing

As with all primates, bigger is better when it comes to housing. Bush babies are relatively small animals, so owners can "get away with" a large macaw cage, compensating for this by allowing plenty of playtime outside of the enclosure.

One breeder prefers a "double macaw cage" (this is the largest wire birdcage on the market) with nest boxes and hammocks [3]. Fill your enclosure with different-sized perches, climbing apparatus, platforms, and swings for variety.

Bush babies can also be housed outdoors in spacious, walk-in aviary type enclosures. These cages should not be able to be opened from the inside as these crafty primates may figure out how to escape, given enough time [12].

Feeding

Anecdotally, keepers prefer to feed a varied mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, and commercial primate food. These food items include acacia gum, nectar, live crickets, cat food, seeds, chicks, mice, monkey biscuits, and other primate-specific diets [3][7][11][12].

Enrichment

Enrichment can come in many forms, from interacting with the pet owner to puzzle feeders during feeding time. There are endless opportunities to make a primate's life more engaging and this should be a priority.

Aside from socialization, the best form of enrichment for bush babies and other primates is to extend the time they spend foraging for food. Food acquisition is the main "job" of wild bush babies, and thus simulating this may prevent boredom and promote psychological welfare [6].

Living With a Bush Baby

  • It is often recommended to not keep primates alone, however unrelated female lesser bush babies have been shown to be aggressive towards each other and that species has been described as "non-gregarious" [4].
  • Male members of the species Otolemur garnettii are usually transient, solitary forgers in the wild, while females may share the same range [10].
  • One breeder suggests that bush babies will benefit from a cage mate [3].
  • Bush babies, being nocturnal, will be very active at night, including making loud vocalizations [12].

Maintenance

  • Bush babies have rabbit-sized pelleted droppings [9].
  • One of the most notable behaviors of all bush babies is that they engage in urine washing, which involves urinating on their hands and feet so they can scent mark their environment [10]. The odor of their urine has been described as "pungent" by one owner [9] and "not very strong" by another [3]. Those who find this trait unappealing should seek a different pet.

Like all animals with teeth, bush babies are capable of biting, however, they do not have claws [3]. One breeder suggests bush babies have a mellow personality and are unlikely to bite [3], while another has stated they've been bitten through their finger [9].

Individual accounts of bush baby care differ and therefore prospective owners should be willing to anticipate any variation of what may be in store. This means a willingness to adapt to the bush baby on an as-needed basis, including enclosure expansion, acquiring a playmate (and having the ability to separate the two if they don't get along), etc.

Given the little information available about bush babies and the fact that all primates are considered to be high maintenance animals, these exotic pets should be considered by only experienced private owners.

References

  1. Ballenger, L. 2001. "Galago senegalensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 19, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Galago_senegalensis/
  2. Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education. Bush Babies.
  3. Duncan, Ashley. Bush Baby. jandaexotics.com/
  4. Kessler, Sharon E., and Leanne T. Nash. "Grandmothering in Galago senegalensis braccatus (Senegal Galago)." African primates. 7.1 (2010): 42-49.
  5. Lundrigan, B. and J. Harris 2000. "Otolemur crassicaudatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 19, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Otolemur_crassicaudatus/
  6. McCann, Colleen, et al. "IPS International guidelines for the acquisition, care and breeding of nonhuman primates." International Primatological Society. Available at h ttp://www. internationalprimatologicalsociety. o rg/docs/IPS International Guidelines for the Acquisition Care and Breeding of Nonhuman Primates Second Edition (2007).
  7. Mommens, Johan. Senegal or Lesser bush baby. 1998
  8. Pollock, Jonathan I. "The management of prosimians in captivity for conservation and research." Primates. Springer, New York, NY, 1986. 269-288.
  9. Sybil's Message Board
  10. Tao, R. 2006. "Otolemur garnettii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 22, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Otolemur_garnettii/
  11. Primate Care Sheets- Bushbabies. Primate Care The Complete Guide on Primate Ownership.
  12. Walker, Ken. Bush Baby Care sheet.

© 2020 Melissa A Smith

Bhavesh Shah from Mumbai on September 24, 2020:

I think bush babies should not be owned as a pet unless you have a garden of your own. These primates could be a real pain when brought inside the concrete.


Contents

Galagos have large eyes that give them good night vision in addition to other characteristics, like strong hind limbs, acute hearing, and long tails that help them balance. Their ears are bat-like and allow them to track insects in the dark. They catch insects on the ground or snatch them out of the air. They are fast, agile creatures. As they bound through the thick bushes, they fold their delicate ears back to protect them. They also fold them during rest. [6] They have nails on most of their digits, except for the second toe of the hind foot, which bears a grooming claw. Their diet is a mixture of insects and other small animals, fruit, and tree gums. [7] They have pectinate (comb-like) incisors called toothcombs, and the dental formula: 2.1.3.3 2.1.3.3 They are active at night.

After a gestation period of 110–133 days, young galagos are born with half-closed eyes and are initially unable to move about independently. After a few (6–8) days, the mother carries the infant in her mouth, and places it on branches while feeding. Females may have singles, twins, or triplets, and may become very aggressive. Each newborn weighs less than half an ounce. For the first three days, the infant is kept in constant contact with the mother. The young are fed by the mother for six weeks and can feed themselves at two months. The young grow rapidly, often causing the mother to walk awkwardly as she transports them. [6]

Females maintain a territory shared with their offspring, while males leave their mothers' territories after puberty. Thus social groups consist of closely related females and their young. Adult males maintain separate territories, which overlap with those of the female social groups generally, one adult male mates with all the females in an area. Males that have not established such territories sometimes form small bachelor groups. [7]

Bush-babies are sometimes kept as pets, although this is not advised because, like many other nonhuman primates, they are a likely sources of diseases that can cross species barriers. Equally, they are very likely to attract attention from customs officials on importation into many countries. Reports from veterinary and zoological sources indicate captive lifetimes of 12.0 to 16.5 years, suggesting a natural lifetime over a decade. [8]

Galagos communicate by calling to each other and by marking their paths with urine. By following the scent of urine, they can land on exactly the same branch every time. [6] Each species produces a unique set of loud calls that have different functions. One function is to identify individuals as members of a particular species across distances. Scientists can recognize all known galago species by their 'loud calls'. [9] At the end of the night, group members use a special rallying call and gather to sleep in a nest of leaves, a group of branches, or a hole in a tree.

Jumping Edit

Galagos have remarkable jumping abilities. The highest reliably reported jump for a galago is 2.25 m. According to a study published by the Royal Society, given the body mass of each animal and the fact that the leg muscles amount to about 25% of this, galago's jumping muscles should perform six to nine times better than those of a frog. [10] This is thought to be due to elastic energy storage in tendons of the lower leg, allowing far greater jumps than would otherwise be possible for an animal of their size. [10] In mid-flight, they tuck their arms and legs close to the body they bring them out at the last second to grab a branch. In a series of leaps, a galago can cover ten yards in mere seconds. The tail, which is longer than the length of the head and body combined, assists the legs in powering the jumps. They may also hop like a kangaroo or simply run or walk on four legs. [6] Such strong, complicated, and coordinated movements are due to the rostral half of the posterior parietal cortex that is linked to the motor, premotor, and visuomotor areas of the frontal cortex. [11]

Myths Edit

The bush baby also refers to a myth that is used to scare children to stay indoors at night. [12] Most likely arising from the baby-like cry, [13] the unusual nature evolved into a myth about a powerful animal that can kidnap humans. It is also said that wild bush babies/galagos in Nigeria can never be found dead on plain ground. Rather, they make a nest of sticks, leaves or branches to die in. Endangerment of the species in sub-Saharan Africa has made this claim difficult to verify.

Generally, the social structure of the galago has components of both social life and solitary life. This can be seen in their play. They swing off branches or climb high and throw things. Social play includes play fights, play grooming, and following-play. During following-play, two galagos jump sporadically and chase each other through the trees. The older galagos in a group prefer to rest alone, while younger ones are in constant contact with one another. [14] This is observed in the Galago garnetti species. Mothers often leave infants alone for long periods and do not try to stop them from leaving. On the other hand, the offspring tries to stay close to, and initiate social interactions with the mother. [15]

Grooming is a very important part of galago daily life. They often groom themselves before, during, and after rest. Social grooming is done more often by males in the group. Females often reject attempts by males to groom them. [14]

Galagos are currently grouped into six genera. Euoticus is a basal sister taxon to all the other galagids. [4] The 'dwarf' galagids recently grouped under the genus Galagoides have been found, based on genetic data, and supported by analysis of vocalisations and morphology, to actually consist of two clades, which are not sister taxa, in eastern and western/central Africa (separated by the rift valley). The latter are basal to all the other non-Euoticus galagids. The former group is sister to Galago and has been elevated to full genus status as Paragalago. [16] The genera Otolemur and Sciurocheirus are also sisters. [16]

Family Galagidae - galagos, or bushbabies

  • Genus Euoticus, needle-clawed bushbabies [4]
    • Southern needle-clawed bushbaby, E. elegantulus
    • Northern needle-clawed bushbaby, E. pallidus
  • Genus Galago, lesser galagos, or lesser bushbabies
    • Galago senegalensis group
      • Somali bushbaby, G. gallarum
      • Mohol bushbaby, G. moholi
      • Senegal bushbaby, G. senegalensis
    • Galago matschiei group
      • Dusky bushbaby, G. matschiei
  • Genus Galagoides, western dwarf galagos [16]
    • Prince Demidoff's bushbaby, Gs. demidovii
    • Angolan dwarf galago, Gs. kumbirensis
    • Thomas's bushbaby, Gs. thomasi
  • Genus †Laetolia
    • Laetolia sadimanensis[17]
  • Genus Otolemur, greater galagos, or thick-tailed bushbabies
    • Brown greater galago, O. crassicaudatus
    • Northern greater galago, O. garnettii
    • Silvery greater galago, O. monteiri
  • Genus Paragalago, eastern dwarf galagos [16]
    • Paragalago zanzibaricus group
      • Kenya coast galago, P. cocos
      • Grant's bushbaby, P. granti
      • Malawi bushbaby, P. nyasae
      • Zanzibar bushbaby, P. zanzibaricus
    • Paragalago orinus group
      • Uluguru bushbaby, P. orinus
      • Rondo bushbaby, P. rondoensis
  • Genus Sciurocheirus, squirrel galagos
    • Bioko Allen's bushbaby, S. alleni
    • Cross River bushbaby, S. cameronensis
    • Gabon bushbaby, S. gabonensis
    • Makandé squirrel galago, S. makandensis

The phylogeny of Galagidae according to Masters et al., 2017 is as follows: [16]

A low-coverage genomic sequence of the northern greater galago, O. garnettii, is in progress. As it is a 'primitive' primate, the sequence will be particularly useful in bridging the sequences of higher primates (macaque, chimpanzee, human) to close non-primates, such as rodents. The two-time planned coverage will not be sufficient to create a full genome assembly, but will provide comparative data across most of the human assembly. [ citation needed ]


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Galago Pet – Can I have a Bush Baby as a Pet?

The Galago, also referred to as a bush baby , or nagapie, are small nocturnal primates native to continental, sub-Sahara Africa, and make up the household Galagidae can also be a pet. They’re typically included as a sister taxon to the Lorisidae or Loridae. This article will discuss more of Galago pet.

Galago Pet facts

Both that or they need to have a human proprietor who can spend important quantities of time with them.

Bushbabies ought to not be confused with gradual lorises, which aren’t available in the USA and for probably the most half, can’t be saved as a pet ethically.

Also referred to as galagos, bush babies are small primates that dwell in Africa and have thick fur, lengthy tails, huge ears, and large, spherical eyes.

Simply like individuals have completely different hair colors, bush babies can have completely different colored fur. It might be light brown to a grayish brown with yellowish sides, legs, and arms

Appearance

The Bushbaby, or Galago is the smallest primate on the continent of Africa and can be a pet. It has rounded fingernails identical to folks aside from the second toe on the rear foot.

This toe is modified to be a rest room claw, it’s pointed in contrast to the opposite nails and is used to groom the fur on its head and neck.

There are flat disks of padded pores and skin on the Galago’s fingers which assist it with grip on the assorted surfaces it climbs.

The Galago’s index fingers are a lot shorter than the opposite fingers as this helps it get a greater grip in bigger branches.

The coat of the Galago varies between mild brown and greyish brown. The limbs and the edges of the Galago tend to be yellowish coloration even as a pet.

The Galago has darkish rings round every eye in addition to some markings between the eyes.

Weight-reduction plan

The Bushbaby eats bugs and the gum that timber gives off. It drinks water from leaves and cervices in addition to licks dew from vegetation

Breeding

The feminine provides beginning to twins a number of weeks earlier than the wet season which is adopted instantly by its second cycle. The second set of twins are born nicely earlier than the beginning of the dry season of the Galago wild as well as pet.

The gestation interval is about 130 days. A single feminine will mate with as much as six males throughout the peak of her cycle.

When searching, the feminine will depart the babies in a nest it constructed earlier than she gave beginning.

When the nest is threatened, the feminine will carry her younger in her mouth to security. The male will mark its feminine by urinating on it.

Behavior

The Bushbaby is a small, tree-dwelling primate that’s primarily energetic throughout the evening. They’re remarkably agile, in a position to leap nice distances between the timber.

When the Bushbaby ventures to the bottom for meals, it should sometimes stroll on its hind legs however totally on all fours.

The males normally keep away from any form of confrontation however nonetheless preserve their very own territories, in case of Galago in wild as well as pet.

The Bushbaby is normally a solo forager however the occasional companion will be a part of to work together throughout the evening.

The Bushbaby has 18 particular calls in its arsenal, everyone might be outlined with totally different interactions and actions. There are four classes the calls fall into, Social, Defensive, Saying and Aggressive.

A fantastic part of their survival is a method in opposition to enemies, is utilizing their vocal cues. The Bushbaby can’t transfer its eyes so it consistently strikes its head to identify prey and predator.

Their ears have an intricate collection of folds that enables the Bushbaby to precisely pin level the supply of noise. The listening to a Bushbaby is so delicate that it will possibly detect an owl in flight.

The Bushbaby is extraordinarily agile and fast, in a position to catch moths and grasshoppers out of the air with relative ease, in case of Galago in wild as well as pet.

Humorous sufficient, although the Bushbaby is nocturnal, it is rather aware of its look grooming itself each time earlier than it goes foraging.

The place can they be seen?

The Bushbaby might be present in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, and the Transvaal.

They like Woodland, savannah, forests, and riverine bush as their most well-liked habitat. They particularly like the world close to the Limpopo River.

For the reason that Bushbaby is a South African Species, it has a high-temperature tolerance, in case of Galago in wild as well as pet.

As a result of these animals are so solitary and like the evening, you might need an opportunity to identify them throughout an Afternoon Kruger Park Safari.

Predators

The Bushbaby is prey to a number of animals, Together with Servals, Genets, African Wildcats, Snakes and Owls.

Although all these animals prey on the Bushbaby, the largest risk to its existence is fires.

The Bushbaby isn’t in a position to leap between timber or out maneuver the flames so it’s caught within the timber because of the flames rage. For this reason, the Bushbaby prefers dwelling in wetter areas as a type of hearth safety.

Whereas there are a number of species of Bushbabies, we’ll solely be speaking in regards to the Lesser Bushbaby which is extra generally stored in captivity, in case of Galago in wild as well as the pet.

The Lesser Bushbaby, additionally known as Senegal Bushbaby (Galago Senegalensis), is a monkey that feeds at evening primarily on bugs which they find by sound.

Apart from massive ears, in addition, they have massive eyes for evening imaginative and prescient. The hinds legs are used for leaping (like a kangaroo), they’re longer and extra highly effective than their entrance legs, in case of Galago in wild as well as pet.

They’ll bounce 10 to 16 ft in a single leap. Right here you’ll discover extra details about preserving Lesser Bushbabies in Captivity, in case of Galago in wild as well as pet.

Throughout current years, the feeding of PRIMATES has undergone important adjustments, as extra has been found about their dietary wants.

The pets market of right this moment presents totally different “monkey pellets”, pelleted diets they’re normally nicely balanced however they cannot by given at the expense of a diversified weight-reduction plan.

Some vital ideas for Galago in wild as well as pet:

All of the substances needs to be sugar-free.
Fruit and veggies must be washed earlier than feeding. (pseudotuberculosis – poisonous merchandise – salmonellosis, etc)
Use solely recent items. (salmonellosis – parasites etc)
Don’t feed uncooked meat, child mice, cockroaches.


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Comments:

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