Macaques are a type of monkey. For this reason, they have some common features like other monkey species. They generally have long arms and legs. These are about the same length. They have brown or black fur. Their muzzles are round and nostrils are on the upper part of the muzzles. The size of their tails varies among each species. The tail can be long, moderate, short, or in some species, it’s entirely absent.
The male macaques of all species are 41-70 cm in length and their weight is 5.5-18 kg. Whereas, female macaques’ weight is about 1.4-13 kg. Macaques have large pouches in their cheeks to carry extra food.
Range & habitat
Macaques are found throughout Asia, North Africa, and Gibraltar. They can live in a wide range of habitats. Their habitats include rainforests of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, arid mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan, temperate mountains of Japan, northern China, Morocco, and Nepal. Some macaque species inhabit villages and towns. They are highly adaptable animals. That’s why they can easily adapt to urban areas.
Let’s know more about some of the macaque species. You can read about their range and habitat below.
Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus)
Barbary macaque is also known as Barbary ape or magot. They are native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco. It is one of the best-known monkey species, but is also one of Africa’s endangered species. It is the only macaque species living outside Asia. They generally live in cedar, fir, oak forests, or grasslands, scrub, rocky regions having a vegetation cover. Barbary macaques are one of the only monkeys with no tails. See find out more about this, and other monkey vs ape differences.
Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus)
The lion-tailed macaque is also known as wanderoo. They live in the Western Ghats of southern India. Wanderoo spends the majority of its life in the upper canopy of tropical rainforests of India.
Crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
Crab-eating macaque is also popular as a long-tailed macaque. It is native to Southeast Asia. These macaques are generally found in lowland rainforests, distributed and secondary rainforests, shrubland, and coastal forests. Their range includes southeastern Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines, and the Nicobar Islands.
Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)
Rhesus macaques are native to South, Central, and Southeast Asia. These macaques are found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and southern China.
Macaques are primarily herbivorous animals. However, some species feed on insects. They eat buds, fruits, young leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Macaques living near human habitations feed on crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane, tomatoes, bananas, melons, mangoes, and papayas. They also eat peanuts, legumes, or even cooked food.
Some species like the crab-eating macaque feed on insects and small vertebrates.
Behavior & lifestyle
The social groups of macaques are matriarchal. The dominant female macaques lead the group. In some species, male macaques lead the group. Macaques spend most of their time on the ground and trees. Those who live near rivers or lakes can swim.
Being social animals, macaques form large groups. There are a total of 20-50 macaques in a group. The young macaques begin to associate with other young macaques after one year of age. The juveniles sexually mature between three to five years of age. Young female macaques stay in the group in which they were born. But, young male macaques leave the group and try to enter other groups. Those who can’t get into any social groups become solitary.
Some macaque species have become invasive and disrupt the lives of other species. Sometimes, they also invade the areas humans live and settle there.
You can read about 10 Iconic African Monkeys To Spot On Safari here.
Fun roan macaque facts
Here is a list of “Top 5 Fun Macaque Facts“. You can read it below.
- Southern pig-tailed macaques eat 70 large rats each year in Malaysia.
- In a social group, if a macaque of lower-order eats berries and none are left for a macaque of higher rank, then the higher ranking macaque removes the berries from the other monkey’s mouth.
- In barbary macaques, dominant females lead the group and the males participate in rearing the juveniles.
- In January 2018, Chinese scientists created two crab-eating macaque clones, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua.
- Macaques can tolerate a wide fluctuation in temperatures. They are highly adaptable to live in different habitats.
Meet the macaque
Did you enjoy learning more about the macaque? Have you ever met this unique creature face-to-face? Tell us about your macaque experience in the comment section below. Because those who care share!
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