The name "bush baby" may come either from the animals' cries or from their appearance. They are agile leapers, and run swiftly along branches. They have large eyes, giving them good night vision; strong hind limbs; and long tails, which help them balance. Their diet is a mixture of insects and other small animals, fruit, and tree gums.
Bush babies are born with half-closed eyes, unable to move about independently. After a few days, the mother carries the infant in her mouth, and leaves it on convenient branches while feeding.
Adult females maintain territories, but share them with their offspring. Males leave their mothers' territories after puberty, but females remain, forming social groups consisting of closely-related females and their immature young. Adult males maintain separate territories, which overlap with those of the female social groups; generally, one adult male mates with all the females in an area. Males who have not established such territories sometimes form small bachelor groups.
Bush babies communicate both by calling to each other and by marking their paths with their urine. At the end of the night, group members use a special rallying call and gather to sleep in a nest made of leaves, in a group of branches, or in a hole in a tree.