Bushbaby

Galago spp.

"Worst Choice" Pet Worst Choice

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.

Source Sustainability Unable to Rank Choice

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

Unable to Rank

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.

PetWatch Recommendation:

EcoHealthy Pets has classified the bushbaby as a Worst Choice pet. It is not a recommended pet.

Invasion Threat Worst Choice

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

Significant Cause for Concern

PetWatch found no information on the invasion threat of bushbabies.

PetWatch Recommendation:

PetWatch has classified the bushbaby as a Worst Choice pet. It is not a recommended pet.

Animal Welfare Worst Choice

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

Significant Cause for Concern

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 well as 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.

PetWatch Recommendation:

PetWatch has classified the bushbaby as a Worst Choice pet. It is not a recommended pet.

Health Threat Worst Choice

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. Wild galagos can also be infected with yellow fever.

PetWatch Recommendation:

PetWatch has classified the bushbaby as a Worst Choice pet. It is not a recommended pet.

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