Galago Photo by Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski

Galago or Bushbabies are small, wolly, long-tailed primates with mobile, oversized naked ears. It belongs to the family Galagidae, infraorder Lorisiformes and suborder Strepsirrhini. Species include cameronensis, demidoff, gabonensis, gallarum, granti, matschiei, moholi, nyasae, orinus, rondoensis, sengalensis, thomasi, zanzibaricus and alleni which is found in Nigeria. This primate is called Egbere or Èmì in Yoruba language and there is a fable that it carries lantern and mat in the night.

Galago alleni is a nocturnal and arboreal primate found in the rainforest of southern Nigeria, west to the delta of the Niger River. The fur is thick and may be grey or brown with color shades tending towards the lighter in the ventral side, dark around the eyes and reddish in the limbs. The fur long tail is thick. Hindlimbs, like the tail, are elongated to allow for vertical clinging and limping. Galago moves rapidly by leaping several meters between vertical supports and it sometimes land in exactly the same branch of tree it intends by following the smell of its urine. Galago have exceptionally well-developed sense of vision though colorless, at night. Fruits primarily constitute the diet but insects and molluscs are also eaten.

Bushbabies are extremely sensitive to any disturbance in their surroundings. Their anxiety in such situations is reflected by alarm calls, kiou kiou kiou, which may be preceded by a hoarse grunt.

Dominance in the Galago ecosystem is apparently dependent on body size and larger Bushbabies are advantaged in the competition for access to female homes. Females have one baby at a time after a gestation period of 111 to 142 days. The average Galago weighs between 70 and 314g. They grow to the height of about 12.9 to 19.9 cm and live for more than 10 years.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer