Critter Science

The Science of Animals


The Gelada, Not Gelato

Being the last remaining members of a once thriving species of primates, the gelada are 200,000 strong and take up residence in the Ethiopian highlands. They are primarily herbivorous (eat mainly plant matter) grass eaters that live in troops of one alpha male with 3 – 6 females in a harem.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Theropithecus gelada
Weight: Females: 33 lbs | Males: 44 lbs
Length: Females: up to 21 inches + up to a 16 inch tail | Males: up to 30 inches + 20 inch tail
Lifespan: Up to 20 years (in the wild) | Up to 30 years (in captivity)

Now on to the Facts!

1.) These primates are sexually dimorphic (Males and females look different), as males are quite a bit larger than females.

2.) They spend almost all of their time on the ground. They are the world’s most terrestrial non-human primate. The only other being humans.

3.) Sometimes geladas form large troops of up to 1,200 individuals. These are some of the largest groups observed among any of the primates!

4.) Being double fisted eaters, a gelada baboon with eat, while sitting, with both hands.

5.) The gelada have opposable thumbs, like most other primates.

But wait, there’s more on the gelada!

6.) They are sometimes found in association with baboons but never with vervets, as their territories do sympatrically (occupying geographical ranges that at least partially overlap without interbreeding) overlap.

7.) Dogs, jackals, leopards, servals, foxes, and hyenas make up the majority of their predators.

Did you know…?
The monkeys typically run from danger, but males have been observed confronting dogs and even mobbing and surrounding a leopard!

8.) If a rogue male should appear to challenge a dominant male, a fight will ensue with teeth being bared and even other geladas will join in to chase away the rival male!

Now a Short Gelada Video!

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Critter Man

With over 41 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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