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Do Bush Babies Make Good Pets? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Bush Babies is a name given to small nocturnal primates with big round eyes called Galagos that are native to southern Africa. Using its long tail and muscular legs, the Bush Baby has an astounding ability to leap as it can jump several feet in the air from a sitting position to snatch a flying insect.

The Bush Baby name may refer to the sounds this unique animal makes, its wide-eyed appearance, or perhaps both. If you’re intrigued by this little animal and want one as a pet, you should know that Bush Babies do not make good pets.

Despite their cuteness, Bush Babies are not easily tamed and they have unpleasant habits like crying out in the night. They are also territory markers that urinate on their hands to spread their scent around and that stuff stinks! And, Bush Babies have very sharp teeth and they’re not afraid to use them. If you get bitten by a Bush Baby, it will hurt and more than a little bit!

Now that you know a Bush Baby is not an ideal pet to own, we’ll tell you more about these little curious little animals we think you’ll find interesting.

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Some Species May Exist Without Anyone Knowing It

There are over 20 known species of Bush Babies and they range in size (and color) from small mouse-sized animals to those the size of cats. However, scientists believe there may be more of these tree-living primates in the world that have yet to be discovered. In fact, scientists think there may be up to 40 species of Bush Babies in existence. Whether or not more species will be discovered is anyone’s guess. We’ll just have to wait and see!

The Tiniest Bush Baby Species is the Most Loved

Weighing around seven ounces, the Lesser Bush Baby is the most well-known and loved species. This animal is the size of a mouse and it has a gray coat with yellow-tinged underparts. The Lesser Bush Baby has big ears it furls and unfurls to listen for insects buzzing around in the air.

This palm-sized Bush Baby is a vertical clinger and leaper that can spring up to 15 feet in a single bound as it travels through the forest from one vertical support to the next. When it’s on the ground, the Lesser Bush Baby hops around like a kangaroo or walks on all fours, which is fascinating, to say the least!

Considering that Bush Babies live high in trees in forests and woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa, it’s not hard to believe that some species of these creatures have not yet been discovered.

Bush Babies Have Unusual Eyes

Bush Babies have huge, forward-facing eyes that are very large in relation to their heads. Unlike us humans and other animals, a Bush Baby cannot move its eyes in the sockets as they’re fixed in the skull. When a Bush Baby wants to shift its gaze, it has to move its entire head.

They’re Very Vocal Animals

In addition to its child-like cry, the Bush Baby produces a variety of calls including odd grunts, clicks, and crackles. Since so many galago species look alike, scientists typically identify the individual species by the sounds they make. Some Bush Babies make croaking noises, others make shrill whistle-like sounds, and some make chattering noises.

Bush Babies Have Incredible Hearing

Bush Babies hunt for food during the night using their big floppy sensitive ears. These nocturnal primates have such good hearing that they have to fold up their ears when sleeping during the day so they’re not awoken by sounds.

It’s Illegal in Most States to Keep Bush Babies

Like with other primates, it’s illegal to keep Bush Babies as pets in most US states. Primates are challenging pets to keep and they’re prone to catching diseases from humans which can be a significant threat to them while adding to the challenge of their care. There are just three states that allow people to keep exotic animals like Bush Babies as pets including parts of North Carolina, Florida, and Nevada. If you live in one of the states mentioned above and want to get a Bush Baby to keep as a pet, check the laws first! Depending on your exact location, there may be some specific requirements you must meet or licensing you must obtain to be granted permission to own a Bush Baby.

Bush Babies Love Gum but Not the Chewing Kind

In addition to a varied insect diet, the majority of a Bush Baby’s diet is made up of tree gum. Bush Babies extract the gum by gouging holes in trees and scraping the bark using their teeth. The gum of acacia trees is one of the Bush Baby’s favorite food sources during the winter season when insects are hard to come by.

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Conclusion

Even though they’re adorable with their big saucer-like eyes, Bush Babies do not make good pets and they’re illegal to own in most states. Bush Babies are not easy to tame, they pee on their hands and spread the urine around, plus they make loud baby-like sounds that can wake the dead! If you were hoping to get a Bush Baby as a pet, find another small animal that’s easier (and legal) to keep!

Looking to check out other unusual animals to keep as pets? Try:


Featured Image Credit: Jurgens Potgieter, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.