Bushbaby

Galago spp.

Bushbabies, also known as galagos, comprise several different species of nocturnal, tree-dwelling primates native to Africa. These squirrel-sized mammals are very agile, able to leap incredible distances and move swiftly through the tree tops. They are omnivorous and the mixed diet includes insects, small birds, eggs, fruits, seeds, and tree gum. Bushbabies are highly social and live in complex family groups. They are thought to be called “bushbabies” because of their large eyes, “cute” appearance, and cries that sound like human babies. Bushbabies can live about 10 years in the wild but, like many species, they are known to survive longer (~15 years) in captivity.

Did You Know?

Bushbabies are highly social and live in complex family groups.

Sustainability

Does the harvest for wildlife trade or captive breeding of this species harm wild populations?

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Bushbabies are thought to be declining in the wild. Several species have decreased in recent years and at least one species (the Rondo bushbaby) is considered critically endangered. Capture of wild individuals is the primary threat. TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, reports that some of these wild-caught animals end up in the illegal pet trade. Many of these are exported to Europe. Bushbabies are also captured, killed, and sold as bush meat in several central African markets. This is probably the greatest threat to most populations.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

The bushbaby is not a recommended pet.

Invasion Threat

Does the release or escape of this species into the wild harm the environment and/or economy?

Significant Cause for Concern

EcoHealthy Pets found no information on the invasion risk of bushbabies.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

The bushbaby is not a recommended pet. However, before obtaining any non-traditional pet, check that it is legal to own one in your state of residence and check for permitting requirements. Only acquire a pet that is from a reputable breeder or dealer to ensure that you are not buying an illegally imported or wild-caught animal. Always keep your pet inside a safe and secure enclosure. Never release a pet into the wild.

Ease of Care

Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or being kept as a pet harm individual animals?

Significant Cause for Concern

Ease of care of many non-traditional pets depends on the individual owner’s years of experience and knowledge caring for a particular species. For the purposes of this website, we have geared information toward the benefit of the beginner.

Bushbabies exhibit significant stress when transported and relocated—generally, they do not do well in captivity. Bushbabies are social animals that live in complex family groups in the wild and they do not survive as well solitary pets. They also have specialized environmental requirements. For example, they need large enclosures with climbing structures, hiding places where they can retreat for safety and sleep during the day, and various items to stimulate their curiosity. It is necessary to feed bushbabies a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and live insects. For these and other reasons, many experts believe that bushbabies (and other primates) should not be kept as pets.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

The bushbaby is not a recommended pet.

Health Threat

Does this animal pose a health risk to native wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?

Significant Cause for Concern

Bushbabies, like other primates, are known carriers of many diseases that can be transmitted to humans including Salmonella, Klebsiella, Campylobacter and other bacteria and gastrointestinal parasites. Bushbabies or galagos can harbor a fierce bite. Wild galagos can also be infected with yellow fever.

Bushbabies, like other primates, are known carriers of many diseases that can be transmitted to humans including Salmonella, Klebsiella, Campylobacter and other bacteria and gastrointestinal parasites. Bushbabies or galagos can harbor a fierce bite. Wild galagos can also be infected with yellow fever.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

The bushbaby is not a recommended pet. However, before purchasing a non-traditional pet, ensure the animal was captive bred vs. wild caught. Be sure to ask if the animal has been checked by a veterinarian and obtain a list of any medical treatments the animal has received. 

EcoHealth Alliance works at the intersection of ecosystem, animal and human health through local conservation programs and develops global health solutions to emerging diseases.
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