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Olive Baboon

Papio anubis (aka Anubis Baboon)

olive baboon


This baboon's common name refers to its dark olive-gray fur color. The dark gray face is devoid of fur, as is the rump. A fully-grown adult male has a mane that runs from the top of its head through the shoulders.

Adult males average 2.5 feet in length, plus a tail of about 1.75 feet, and weigh about 55 pounds. Females are noticeably smaller, with a body length of 2 feet, tail length of 1,5 feet, and weight of 30 pounds. Males also have large canine teeth.

Distribution and Habitat

The olive baboon ranges across most of central sub-Saharan Africa, and there are isolated populations within the Saharan region. It lives in a variety of habitats, with savannah, grassland steppe, and rainforest being the most common.

distribution of the olive baboon


Like all baboons, the olive baboon is an omnivore, with a diet that includes fruits, tree gums, insects, eggs, seeds, flowers, grass, rhizomes, corms, roots, tubers, and small vertebrates. It has also become a pest in many areas by raiding agricultural crops.


Males compete for access to females in heat, but the female has the final say in which male (or males) she mates with. While higher-ranking males tend to have easier access to females, subordinate males often gain a mating advantage by forming friendships with females. In these friendships, males groom, share food, and have strong affiliative ties with particular females and their offspring. Females tend to exhibit a preference for mating with their male friends.

A single offspring is born after a gestation period of about 180 days. The infant is completely dependent on its mother for the first month. At 4-6months it will start to spend most of its time with other juveniles within the troop, and will be fully weaned at about 14 months. Male olive baboons are known to carry, protect, share food (especially meat), groom, and play with, the offspring of their female friends, but whether they do so as "fathers" or to keep the friendships strong is unknown. Males typically leave their natal troop upon reaching puberty, at 4-6 years.

Other Habits and Behaviors

Olve baboons spend most of their time on the ground, retreating to the trees primarily for sleeping.

Like other baboons, the olive is a highly social animal. An average troop may be comprised of 20-50 animals, but troops of up to 100 individuals are possible is areas with plenty of highly nutritional foods. Within each troop there is a dominance hierarchy among females that tends to be very stable over time. In general, an individual female occupies a place in the dominance hierarchy immediately below her mother and her younger sisters, moving up only upon the death of the mother. Male dominance hierarchies tend to be more flexible, as new males enter and out-compete older males.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Mammalia
order Primate
family Cercopithecidae
genus & species Papio anubis

Animal Diversity Web

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This page was last updated on June 19, 2018.