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Macaque Monkeys

The macaques constitute a genus (Macaca) of gregarious Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae. The 23 species of macaques inhabit ranges throughout Asia, North Africa, and (in Gibraltar) Europe. Macaques are principally frugivorous (preferring fruit), although their diet also includes seeds, leaves, flowers, and tree bark. Some species such as the long-tailed macaque (M. fascicularis; also called the crab-eating macaque) will supplement their diets with small amounts of meat from shellfish, insects, and small mammals. On average, a southern pig-tailed macaque (M. nemestrina) in Malaysia eats about 70 large rats each year. All macaque social groups are arranged around dominant matriarchs.

Macaques are found in a variety of habitats throughout the Asian continent and are highly adaptable. Certain species are synanthropic, having learned to live alongside humans, but they have become problematic in urban areas in Southeast Asia and are not suitable to live with, as they can carry transmittable diseases.

Our Macaque Monkeys

Macaque Monkey information

Diet

Macaques are mainly vegetarian, although some species have been observed feeding on insects. In natural habitats, they have been observed to consume certain parts of over one hundred species of plants including the buds, fruit, young leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. When macaques live amongst people, they raid agricultural crops such as wheat, rice, or sugarcane; and garden crops like tomatoes, bananas, melons, mangos, or papayas. In human settings, they also rely heavily on direct handouts from people. This includes peanuts, rice, legumes, or even prepared food.

Reproduction and mortality

The reproductive potential of each species differs. Populations of the rhesus macaque can grow at rates of 10% to 15% per year if the environmental conditions are favorable. However, some forest-dwelling species are endangered with much lower reproductive rates.[citation needed] After one year of age, macaques move from being dependent on their mother during infancy, to the juvenile stage, where they begin to associate more with other juveniles through rough tumble and playing activities. 

Macaque behavior

A healthy captive environment allows macaques to spend their time engaged in a wide range of ‘natural’ behaviours. The activity budgets of wild macaques vary, but in all studies, the macaques spend the majority of their time foraging, resting, allogrooming, and moving around their environment.

Appearance

The macaque is a medium-sized monkey, generally measuring up to 28 inches and 40 pounds in size, with a somewhat long, rounded muzzle and nostrils located on the upper surface. The males are generally a lot larger than females, but otherwise, it can be difficult to tell them apart. The fur is usually some shade of brown or even black and thins out around the facial area. The arms are nearly the same size as the legs, making it easier to climb in trees.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Macaques are promiscuous breeders within their group. They generally mate with whomever they want throughout the year. Higher ranked females typically mate more often and give the baby better access to food. Every year or two the female will give birth to a single offspring after a gestation period lasting five to six months long.

The young baby will begin to consume solid foods at about two weeks after birth, but it may take more than a year to wean the baby fully from the mother’s milk. They develop important social skills by playing with other infants in the troop. The juvenile still remains close to and dependent on its mother until the birth of a sibling. By 18 months, they will finally start to consume the same foods as an adult.