Welcome to the Real Animal House

Welcome to the Big Baboon House. You’ve seen shows with outrageous, over-the-top characters who act like animals, but in this house they really are animals. They’re baboons, they’ve moved in and they have no intention of leaving.

A small town in South Africa is overrun by a troop of rambunctious baboons, so they’ve undertaken the simian social experiment of a lifetime – they’ve built a house designed to study the baboons so they can learn how to keep them out of their own homes.

And this isn’t just any house. Nine cameras capture every move. Five microphones record every groan, grunt and whisper. An elaborate maze of secret passageways allows camera crews to shoot the unsuspecting house guests through one-way mirrors. The cameras capture everything that happens in the house – whether we want to see it or not!

When these precocious primates find themselves living as humans, their instinctive baboon rituals begin to play out in this very human setting. The resulting images have the unmistakable feel of a televised reality show. The battle for dominance becomes the struggle to be “Top Banana.” Battles over bowls of fruit become “Food Competitions.” As the visitors explore the house with more scrutiny, they discover many secrets. And, not surprisingly, the luxurious surroundings fan the flames of romance. No one has ever seen a televised household like this one before.

To further study these incredible creatures in this unique environment, the Big Baboon House crew conducts a series of unforgettable experiments with the house guests. These experiments, which play as competitions in the show, help us learn more about how the baboons think, interact and cooperate. Can they learn to use tools? Will they work together to solve a problem? Can they figure out that a trampoline can help them jump higher?

But Big Baboon House goes even further by speculating what the baboons might be thinking while they are interacting in the human home. These dialogues take the human/baboon connection even further and help us relate to them not just as animals but also as characters.

It’s all part of an unprecedented social experiment that will make jaws drop everywhere as viewers get a window into a secret world that confounds the imagination. Get ready to leap into a world where a bunch of bananas is more coveted than a million dollar prize. Get ready for Big Baboon House.


 Catch the premiere of Big Baboon House on Saturday, June 23rd at 8P et/pt followed by another all-new episode at 9P et/pt.


  1. beth schramm
    June 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I just finished reading Ape House by Sara Gruen and hoped that what I was reading was pure fiction and that i would never actually see this premise come to life. I just lost a lot of respect for NG. Big Baboon House….I have no words to express how distasteful this is!

  2. jason du toit
    South Africa
    July 3, 2012, 1:33 am

    breaking south african law by feeding baboons. setting back human-baboon interaction by decades. we work so hard to maintain a peaceful co-existence with these wonderful creatures only to have some gung-hu foreigners come in and destroy our hard work. shame on you!

  3. Anthony Cawood
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    July 3, 2012, 2:47 am

    this is wrong on so many levels! People who live in these areas have a constant struggle keeping these baboons at bay, and NG promotes it by luring the animals with food???

    Not your finest moment NG!

  4. Megan
    Cape Town, South Africa
    July 4, 2012, 3:13 am

    I have always viewed National Geographic as an organisation of integrity and good standing with fair reporting. What you have done in Pringle Bay has completely destroyed my respect for your organisation. I cannot comprehend how you could think it acceptable to lure potentially aggressive animals into a residential area, encouraging them to break into houses to take food, thereby exacerbating an already unmanageable problem. I have personal friends who have been attacked by baboons for a box of porridge, or cornered in their homes by aggressive baboons who will stop at nothing to get hold of food. There are those who would have no qualms in shooting to kill these animals who threaten them in this way, purely out of self-defense. You have therefore effectively put residents and the baboons in danger. All for a sensationalist experiment to make money off viewership. So disappointing.

  5. Lee Jones
    Scarborough, South Africa
    July 10, 2012, 10:24 am

    Please remind me how this fits in with National Geographic Society’s historical mission is “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world’s cultural, historical, and natural resources.”?
    This is an incredibly irresponsible venture and feeding baboons is illegal (unless being transported or in captivity).