African Bush baby, (family Galagidae), also spelled bushbaby, also called galago, any of more than 20 species of small attractive arboreal primates native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are gray, brown, or reddish to yellowish brown, with large eyes and ears, long hind legs, soft, woolly fur, and long tails.
Two species of African bush baby (gelagos or nagapies) live in Africa. They are the smallest primates in Africa:
- The lesser bushbaby, only weighs up to 150 grams (5 ounces).
- The larger, greater bushbaby. This bushbaby moves more carefully, slowly and about the size of a small domestic cat.
Bushbabies are harmless and do not have any poison or venom.
Early researchers noticed captive gelagos (bushbabies) never bred in captivity… They found out the reason why in a rather ‘stinky’ way.
Scent is very important to a gelago or African Bush baby, and when they leave their nest to forage at night, the first thing they do is urinate on their hands and then they quickly cover the soles of their feet, and then pat their little body — anointing it… with urine.
Then, they follow the same route as they leave, so the branches and leaves surrounding their nest are covered in their scent. A warning to others that this territory is occupied.
In captivity, when their branches and similar grew too fragrant, never mind other gelagos smelling it, the scent also assaulted human nostrils, they were removed and replaced with ‘clean’ branches.
The gelagos did not like that. Some keepers in healthy zoos, decided to also clean their smelly area with disinfectants.
The gelagos responded by not breeding and then it was noticed they only settled, felt at home and bred when their spacious area (as they need space as very active little primates) thickly covered in their overpowering scent.
Then, they were happy.
This taught the researchers, and similar, a lot more about these interesting primates and aiding wild gelago conservation efforts.