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Bush Baby Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor
Kimberly Uptmor

Kimberly has a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education: Science and has master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, she teaches 7th grade through college level classes.

Expert Contributor
Jamie Lawton

Jamie has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northeastern University and has taught college chemistry.

The bush baby is one of the world's smallest primates. Come learn about bush babies, what they look like, where you can find them, what they like to eat, how they got their name, and some other cool facts about these tiny animals.

What Are Bush Babies?

Imagine walking through a thick forest at night. Out of nowhere, you hear what sounds like a baby crying. You walk around some more, trying to find out where the sound is coming from. You look up into the trees and see something move as quickly as a flash. When you finally do catch a glimpse of this animal, you see large, round eyes watching you. You are looking at a bush baby!

The galago primate is also known as a bush baby.
The galago primate is also known as a bush baby.

Also known as galagos, bush babies are small primates that live in Africa and have thick fur, long tails, big ears, and huge, round eyes. They get their name because of the loud noises they sometimes make that sound like crying, shrieking babies.

As primates, bush babies are related to monkeys, apes, and humans. They have fingers and toes that can grab things, the way you can, and they have flat fingernails similar to yours.

Bush babies are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are active during night hours. Because of this, they have certain characteristics that allow them to survive and thrive during the night. These characteristics are their voice, ears, and eyes.

Bush babies' loud cries enable them to communicate to one another. Scientists can distinguish each species of bush baby by its distinctive cry. They also have distinctive large ears that stick upward from their head. Each ear is able to rotate independently of one other, allowing the bush baby to hear all around it for prey, such as small insects or frogs. Also, their large eyes enable them to see at night when they are out hunting or traveling from one place to the next.

Just like people have different hair colors, bush babies can have different colored fur. It may be light brown to a grayish brown with yellowish sides, arms, and legs. Though most bush babies are very small and weigh less than one pound, the biggest bush babies can weigh as much as three pounds, which is still less than a two-liter bottle of soda!

Some kinds of bush babies are expert jumpers and can soar 15 feet in a single leap. That's almost as long as three giraffe legs put together! Others like to run and climb across high treetops using all four legs.

There are at least 20 different kinds of bush babies, but scientists think there may be around 40 because they haven't all been discovered yet. Many of these species can live a little over 16 years!

Where Do Bush Babies Live?

Bush baby clinging to a tree limb
Bush baby clinging to a tree limb

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Additional Activities

Bush Baby Activities

Discussion about Bush Baby Facts

Take a moment to think about all the things you have learned about bush babies while exploring the lesson. Where do they live? What is it like there? Keep in mind that different types of bush babies live in different regions of Africa. Can you find the continent of Africa on a map?

What is their family structure like? What do they eat? How do they hunt? Remember, bush babies are omnivores, so they eat both meat and vegetation. This may include insects, fruits, and smaller animals. They are nocturnal so they hunt at night.

Why are they called bush babies? What other interesting facts did you learn? Write all of these facts down on a paper to refer to in the next activity. Discuss these facts with others so that you might remember other facts that you have learned.

Story Writing

Write a short story featuring a Bush Baby in the wild. Think about what the average day/night would be like for a bush baby. How do bush babies interact with other Bush Babies? Include descriptions of food and the area that the Bush Baby lives in. What are the challenges Bush Babies face on a regular basis? Try to include as many facts as you can about bush babies in our story.

Bush Baby Drawing

Using a paper and crayons or markers, illustrate your short story with a drawing of a Bush Baby in the habitat that you described. Include all the details you can to show what a Bush Baby looks like as well as what their environment looks like. Make sure not to forget those big eyes so that they can see at night!

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