Like all baboons, the chacma baboon has a varied and opportunistic diet, taking a range of plant material, including bulbs, roots, shoots, seeds and fruit, as well as fungi, lichen, crabs, fish, invertebrates, and other small prey. Larger prey, such as young antelope or small livestock, are also occasionally taken, and the chacma baboon may raid crops in settled areas (1) (2) (6) (7) (8). Most foraging takes place on the ground, during the day (2) (4) (7).
The chacma baboon is highly social, living in groups of around 20 to 50, or sometimes up to 130 or more. Each group usually contains a number of adult males, with a dominance hierarchy determining access to females (1) (2) (4) (7) (8). Breeding does not appear to be seasonal, but timing may depend on food availability. The female chacma baboon gives birth to a single young, or rarely twins, after a gestation period of around six months (2) (3) (4) (6) (8). The young is carried clinging to the female’s breast at first, later riding on her back, and is weaned by about 8 months. Sexual maturity is reached at around 4 to 8 years, at which point females usually stay within the troop, while males leave to join another troop. Adult females give birth around once every 15 months to 2 years, and the chacma baboon may live for up to 30 years in the wild (2) (3) (6) (8).