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Baboons

Food And Foraging Habits

Baboons have the same number of teeth and dental pattern as human beings. Baboons, like other members of the subfamily Cercopithecinae, have cheek pouches that can hold a stomach's worth of food. This enables them to literally eat on the run, and is helpful to them when they have to compete for food or avoid danger. Baboons can quickly fill up their pouches, then retreat to safety to eat at their leisure.

Baboons walk on all four limbs and their rear feet are plantigrade, meaning they walk on the whole foot, not just on their toes. The walking surface of their hands is the complete surface of their four fingers. When feeding, baboons tend to stand on three of their limbs and pluck food while eating with one hand. When baboons are walking, their shoulders are higher than their hips and they are able to easily see what is going on around them as they forage for food.

Baboons are basically fruit-eaters, but they also eat seeds, flowers, buds, leaves, bark, roots, bulbs, rhizomes, insects, snails, crabs, fish, lizards, birds, and small mammals. Young baboons learn what to eat and what not to eat through trial and error. Adults monitor their choices and intervene to prevent younger baboons from eating unusual food. When water is not available, baboons dig up roots and tubers to find liquid and often dig holes in dry river beds to find water.

It has been observed that baboons adapt their food choices to what is available in their habitats. In some regions they have developed group hunting techniques.


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