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The night perched high on cliff faces and the day on the ground to feed

The only exclusively herbivorous primate

Adult males, in contrast to females, are easy to recognise by the “cape” of long hair along their back, the red hourglass-shaped patch on their chest and their long canine teeth. They spend the night perched high on cliff faces and return to the ground to feed. Geladas are not good climbers and prefer to remain on the ground.

Geladas live in Africa and are mainly found in Ethiopia.

Geladas live in small groups comprising a dominant male, several females and juveniles. The male offers the group protection but may have to fend off competition from another male, in which case the females must decide either to support their male and chase off the intruder or oppose the dominant male and welcome the new arrival. Males sometimes form groups of bachelors on the periphery of the harems. Several mixed groups may also come together in the same area forming a gang of up to 400 individuals.

Thanks to their opposable thumbs, geladas use their hands to pick up their food and store it to eat later as required. They are also the only exclusively herbivorous primates !

  • Habitat

    Mountainous regions, rocky plateaux and savannah

  • Food

    Grass, roots, bulbs, seeds and fruit.

Did you know ?

Geladas are highly gifted communicators: they use their senses to communicate with one another. They display many different facial mimics to express themselves. For example, if a gelada pulls back his upper lip or stares at another gelada, this is seen as a threat.

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