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Babouin de Guinée © MNHN - François-Gilles Grandin

The Guinea baboon

The Guinea baboon, Papio papio, is a primate from the Cercopithedicae family and lives in the African savanna. It spends most of its time on the ground. It can travel up to 8 km on four legs and only climbs up tall trees to sleep.


Class, order and family :
Mammalia, Primates, Cercopithecidae
Life span :
up to 25 years
Size & Weight :
up to 55 cm for females and 75 cm for males, 13 kg for females and 19 kg for males
Gestation period :
6 months, only one baby per litter
Natural habitat :
savanna, forests, prairies
Diet :
omnivore - fruit and small animals
Native region :
West Africa: Guinea, Senegal, Gambia
Statut UICN : 

Near Threatened (NT)


The baboons live in large groups where several adult males control movement and breeding and ensure all of them are protected.
The groups break up into harems to look for food and rest, consisting of one male, 3 or 4 females and their young ones. Amongst the females, there is one dominant female who the others submit to, and she passes on her social status to her daughters.
The baboons have developed an elaborate communication system which contributes to the stability of the social order. Apart from the screaming, posturing and different types of behaviour, there are also facial expressions, involving subtler movements of the lips and even the eyes.


A female baboon’s bottom is also a method of communication. Bare and swollen, with hard skin, it becomes even redder and more swollen when she comes into season. The male can tell at a glance when it is time to mate!