Of all the species, baboons (Papio ursinus – Kerr, 1792) are arguably the most entertaining to watch. In a troop of baboons there is always activity. Chasing, pulling tails, play wrestling, foraging – the level of activity and “business” can keep an observer delightfully entertained for hours on end. “Fun and games” whilst being an almost full time activity with young baboons is not confined to the young. Older and even adult baboons can be surreptitiously drawn into games in which they also participate but usually for shorter and less frequent intervals before reverting back to more dignified and aloof behaviour befitting that of a mature adult. It is difficult when looking at these delightful images of baboons swimming to avoid falling into the trap of anthropomorphism – which is equating the behaviour of animals to that of humans.
The fun and enjoyment is evident. But why would baboons be swimming? The answer is most likely twofold and would be exactly the same as the reasons we, as humans, would go for a swim. Firstly it is the hottest time of the day (just after 2 p.m.) and the baboons want to cool off, and secondly who could resist some good, clean fun!