Four-Cheeked Baboons and Dinosaur Birds: the Animals of the Simien Mountains

Look but not too closely at the four cheeked butt.

As promised I’m now going to talk about the animals that we witnessed in the heights of the Simien Mountains. This will conclude the whole me-talking-about-my-journey-to-Ethiopia thing for now because to be quite frank, the details are starting to get a little hazy and when that happens I just start making stuff up.

I’m typing this blog post on my grandma’s computer, who asked not to be mentioned in the blog, so I’m going to respect that and not talk about her or our discussion at the dinner table about the European meaning of shag.

Anyways, the animals of the Simien Mountains.

Eye contact makes everyone nervous.

High in the mystical mountains of Ethiopia lives the Gelada baboon, which spends its day sitting on its four butt cheeks and using its bizarrely dainty little hands to pull up grass and chomp on it before using those same dainty hands to scratch itself and groom its friends, lovers, and cousins.

According to Wikipedia and me, these baboons are awesome because a. they are only found in the “high grassland of the deep gorges of the central Ethiopian plateau”  b. they are the only primates that are primarily graminivores and grazers, and c. they sleep on the edges of cliffs.

I would also add that they have beady bronze eyes that lurk out from under a permanently furrowed brow so they always look pissed. One morning we were about to leave the campsite and a band of baboons came strolling along, like it was no big deal. We were freaking out and taking tons of pictures while our scout was probably thinking, “They’re just baboons….” It’s like when people take pictures of the squirrels in the states. Quick question: what if humans had four butt cheeks. On second thought, forget it.

Gander at those butt scratching horns.

Another awesome animal: the Ibex. First you’re probably thinking, these aren’t that cool. I have deer in my backyard too. Think again and take a look at the horns on that mother narker.

We stumbled upon an entire herd of these beauties near our campsite and were captivated by their grazing. This dude with the horns was clearly the king of the pack. As we came over a hill we saw him there, a magnificent creature, and as we looked upon him, he majestically tilted his head back and scratched his butthole every so gently with the tip of one his wondrous horns. It was breathtaking. We were sure that every Ibex in the bunch was jealous of his butt-scratching skills.

A raven, an oracle, or a god. Who can tell?

Finally, the thick-billed raven. Personally, I didn’t find this animal terribly interesting except for the fact that it could fly (what!) and that it had one of the most dinosaur-like calls that I’d ever heard.  I first heard it when one was taking off from a rock, and it sounded like a very heavy, very throaty door groaning open. It was probably the call that my grandpa would make if he were a bird, complaining about wanting to watch a different sports game.

On our last day, we woke up surrounded by an entire group of these ravens and boyfriend was really happy to finally be able to use the phrase “an unkindness of ravens.” We rejoiced in the fulfillment of linguistic possibilities and then left the mountains, maybe forever.

Coming up this week: bachelorette party, bridal shower, and food tour madness in Chicagoland.

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16 thoughts on “Four-Cheeked Baboons and Dinosaur Birds: the Animals of the Simien Mountains

  1. I would love to have been there and seen first hand the butt scratching abilities of these animals. What a grand time that would have been… I would also have liked to here the shagging conversation you and your grandmother had also…

  2. SB, fun to see your travels in print and photos.. and you get me any kind of monkey, I’m there.

  3. evea192 says:

    Nice, scary ass ibex, those horns can do great damage.

  4. tomwisk says:

    You have a future in writting for travel mags. You’d be a refreshing change from those writers who ignore grazing baboons and butt scratching.

  5. Cool! Thanks for sharing your pics ; ) Your grandma sounds funny!

  6. Roly says:

    The wilds of Africa are beautiful with many exotic animals

  7. Man,what i wouldn’t give for a set of horns like that!!! Add four butt cheeks and you could own the world.If you move about on two legs so much the better,shock factor….
    Snot on…

    • edrevets says:

      Are you suggesting horns and the four buttcheeks to create the ultimate superhuman? Now that’s something that science fiction hasn’t imagined.

  8. Thanks, cause I really enjoyed the tour and cool pix of animals I’ve never seen in person, out in the wild. What if humans had four butt cheeks? To me, the answer is obvious and as much as I’d love to just blurt it out, you said to forget it, so I’ll be an obedient reader and…what were we just talking about? Never mind; it’s probably not important.

    Looking forward to post bachelorette party post, assuming you do post it, cause I just have this feeling that the experience will inspire you, and you’ll be in rare form.

Snot Back

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