Although generally described as frugivorous, yellow baboons are dietary generalists. they are known to eat pods, grass, sedges, seeds, fruit, roots, leaves, buds, bark, flowers, insects, and meat. They are known hunt and kill rabbits and vervet monkeys.
One feeding adaptation thought to be shared by all baboons is the ability to subsist on a relatively low quality diet. Baboons can subsist on grasses for extended periods of time. This allows them to exploit dry terrestrial habitats, like deserts, semideserts, steppes, and grasslands.
The feeding behavior of yellow baboons has been heavily studied, especially as it impacts survival of immature animals. Immatures born late in the wet season when the number of foods and food parts eaten is highest have the highest survival to four years of age. This makes sense, as there is ample food for the lactating mother. Survival of immatures is lowest for those born late in the dry season when the number of foods and food parts eaten is the lowest. Survival to two years closely parallels the feeding curves.
Animal Foods: mammals; carrion ; insects
Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit
Primary Diet: omnivore
- Rhine, R., G. Norton, G. Wynn, . Wynn. 1989. Plant feeding of yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, and the relationship between seasonal feeding and immature survival. International Journal of Primatology, 10/4: 319-341.