This small creature, the Bush Baby, is one of the smallest primates and is common around Virunga National Park headquarters.
This little night creature, the Bush Baby, is one of the smallest primates, and (in my humble opinion) one of the noisiest. Often at night we hear them chattering loudly around our tents at the park headquarters, as if they are having a convention on which trees produce the juiciest fruits.
Bush Babies vary in size, but our particular species is small, like the size of a squirrel with a long bushy tail. They only come out at night and have huge eyes that look like aliens when you shine a torch in their direction. One tourist compared them to the cute gremlin Gizmo.
The bush baby in the pictures has been identified (by our head of Tourism Cai Tjeenk Willink) as a Spectacled Galago, Galago matschieni (syn. G.inustus). These animals on average weigh between 170 - 250g (about 6 - 8 ounces) with a body size of 14.7 - 20cm (about 5.5 - 7.8 inches) and an average tail length of 19 - 27.9 cm (7.5 - 11 inches). Although bush babies can be found across Africa, this species is only found in eastern parts of Congo and very isolated mountain slopes in Eastern Uganda.
Some random facts:
Bush babies only come out at night, usually alone in an area, jump from tree to tree, and make a ridiculously loud noise for their tiny 6-8 inch body.
The eyes glow when a light hits it directly, so we only see their eyes if the bush baby is looking right at us and we have a torch shining right in their eyes.
Look at the long fingers on its hands. They pee on the hands and mark the trees with it.
Usually if a human is shining a light on a Bush Baby, it will watch briefly and then jump away. This baby was curious and came within 4 feet of me.
This is what we normally see when we hear the bush babies and go out with our torch to look for them. Hold the flashlight up near your face, and shine it around in the direction of the sound. Suddenly you will spot two glowing eyes in the dark. This view is exaggerated because of the camera flash, but usually we don’t see the body, just eyes.