bush baby

bush baby or bushbaby, name for several small, active nocturnal primates of the Galagidae family, found in forested parts of Africa. Bush babies are also called galagos. The smallest are about 1 ft (30 cm) long, including the long, furry tail. All have fluffy fur, small pointed faces with large eyes, and naked, highly mobile ears. The very large eyes are adapted for nocturnal vision and their pupils contract so as to be almost invisible. The long hind legs are specialized for jumping; the fingers and toes are long and slender, with fleshy terminal pads; and the thumb and big toe are opposable.

Extremely swift and agile, bush babies leap like squirrels from branch to branch and hop on their hind legs on the ground. They feed on gums, insects, fruit, and vegetable matter. Senegal bush babies ( Galago senegalensis ) are familiar as pets. They are gregarious and spend much time grooming each other with their front teeth.

Bush babies are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Galagidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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