Chacma Baboon or Cape Baboon (Papio ursinus)


The Chacma Baboon is a large primate with a dog-like face and large, prominent canines. A mature male measures 1.5 m from head to tail and weighs up to 33 kg, whereas the more slender female measures 1.1 m and has a mass of about 15 kg.


Omnivorous, under natural conditions they feed on wild fruits, seeds and insects, even scorpions, and on occasion even the flesh of small mammals and birds. Because troops are inclined to raid commercial crops, baboons are not popular with maize and fruit farmers.


Baboons do not have a definite breeding season and are sexually active throughout the year. Gestation period is around 140 days, after which a single young is born. Chacma baboons are preyed upon by Leopard and Cheetah.


Baboons can be very aggressive. It is a known fact that they would viciously counter-attack their predators when threatened. Troops are 50 to 100 strong, and have a well-developed and complex social structure.

Where they are found

Baboons inhabit woodlands, semi-deserts and sub alpine meadows along the Drakensberg. The Chacma baboon is replaced in the north by its close relative, the yellow baboon. They are Widely distributed throughout Southern Africa and in countries beyond.

Field Notes

Although preyed upon by Leopards, Baboons are known to hold their own against these predators and have been recorded tearing Leopards apart with their strong canines. In the Cape Peninsula, their southern-most range, the Baboons clash with humans by raiding houses and storerooms, a situation that has led to much debate and many accusations - with no solution in sight.


Back to Animal List