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Lion Tailed Macaque

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Did you adore viewing the classic Disney movie ‘The Lion King’? If yes, then you will love learning about the lion tailed macaque! This monkey was an adviser to the lion king Simba and his father Mufasa, and today, you may know everything about this beautiful creature. The lion’s tail is the inspiration for the animal’s moniker. The lion-tailed macaque is located in South India, and the lion-tailed macaque adaptations are many in number to support their population in the wild. These monkeys are frequently seen in a group in the wild, with up to 20-30 individuals.

If you spot them, though, you must not disturb them! They may be hostile and attack anybody who gets too near, particularly if you threaten the infants in the group. These populations are best watched from a distance, where you can snap photographs and examine them without upsetting these beautiful animals. Continue reading to learn more about these fascinating primates, and don’t forget to browse our collections of ring-tailed lemur and red-tailed monkey facts while you’re here.

KINGDOMAnimalia
Scientific NameMacaca silenus
FAMILYCercopithecidae
LENGTH40-61 CM
WEIGHT3-10 KG
LIFE SPAN20-38 YRS

Geographic Distribution and Habitat

Primarily arboreal, the gorgeous lion-tailed macaque, also known as the wanderoo, flourishes in the top canopy of tropical evergreen rainforests and monsoon forests, across a wide variety of heights, from 330 to 6,000 ft (100–1,850 m).

The Palghat Gap, a 25-mile (40-kilometer) wide rift in the Western Ghats, is the sole break in the vast mountain range that runs north to south across India, spanning 990 miles (1,600 kilometers). It traverses the states of Karnataka, Kamil Nadu, and Kerala on the southwestern coast of the Indian peninsula. Sahyadri, or the Benevolent Mountains, is another name for this region, one of the world’s most prosperous in terms of biological richness.

Lion tailed macaque appearance

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Lion-tailed macaque
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Lion-tailed macaques have black fur. They are defined by the grey mane around their face. In fact, they are sometimes called bearded monkeys. They have a tiny tuft on the tip of their tail. Their tail resembles a lion’s tail, where the moniker’ lion-tailed macaque’ originates from. Lion-tailed macaque males are more significant than females. These monkeys, like other macaques, have pouches on their cheeks. The bag carries nearly as much food as can fit in their stomach, and they utilize their pockets to temporarily store food. Also, like other Old World monkeys, lion tailed macaques can sleep on tree branches thanks to a thick, callous-like patch of skin on their buttocks.

The way we live our lives

Up to 34 people may be found in these social primates’ families, typically between 10 and 20 members. Each group has a dominant guy and one or two other adult males. The group’s dominant male is in charge of reproduction. Besides traveling together, these relatives often spend their nights huddled in close quarters. They spend the night in trees since they are arboreal and nocturnal species (typically, high in the canopy of the rainforest). These macaques have a strong sense of self-preservation and are highly social creatures. Males of this species use sound to delineate the limits of their home territories. One of the soldiers vacated the region when the dominant males of several groups emit loud, human-like ‘whoops.’ Overall, their communication system comprises as many as 17 vocalizations. Lion-tailed macaques communicate not just verbally but also nonverbally. People smack their lips to say hello, whereas yawning grimacingly is used to show strength or danger.

​Diet

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Lion-tailed macaque
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Lion tailed macaques are selective eaters that reside in mature highland rainforests, where food supplies might be scarce and widely distributed. Fig trees provide the bulk of their fruit supply, which is their primary source of protein. When fruit is less available, they augment their diet with a range of delicacies that include seeds, sap, cones, shoots, pith, flowers, insects, snails, birds, eggs, tree frogs, and tiny creatures like lizards, bats, and Indian giant squirrel infants.

Their ecosystem quickly changes due to human encroachment, wildfires, land conversion for agricultural cultivation, and other human activities. In some parts, the terrain is significantly different from a few years ago. To create a way for agriculture, many large trees were felled or burned, and a broad range of exotic species was planted. Since their numbers have declined, these macaques have been forced to adjust their diet in unforeseen ways, such as eating non-native floral masa plants or even coffee plants. Because the fruits they regularly consume are less accessible (particularly between September and November). They are ingesting more insects and spend a lot more time foraging on the ground than they used to.

Reproduction

Fertile females have a prominent bulge beneath their tails. That is a clear signal to the men that it is time to mate. Lion tailed macaques mate with each other throughout most of the year. Most newborns are born in February and March. At birth, they have incredibly delicate, almost fluff-like fur. Their fur becomes ‘mature,’ and they acquire their trademark mane at around two months of age. Males become sexually mature when they reach the age of eight. Females achieve adulthood sooner when they are four. They usually have their first young when they are approximately six. Females stay in their natal group their whole lives. Young guys join bachelor groups, and subsequently, they attempt to take over established groups.

How do they communicate?

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Lion-tailed macaque
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

Males macaques have been the only macaques that utilize vocalizations to advertise territorial boundaries. It’s common for male macaques to make a loud cry to warn other groups as they approach their territory. When two groups meet, one frequently retreats without demonstrating any overt violence. Their tail also plays an essential function in their communication. Animals that are higher in the ranking have its tail up straight, whereas animals who are bottom in the hierarchy and scared have tails pointing down.

Population threats

The main danger to the total population of this species is the degradation of their rainforest habitat. Deforestation for forestry, agriculture, and construction has resulted in almost complete eradication of these monkeys’ native habitat, resulting in a population decline of up to 99 percent. Lion tailed macaques are found only in small groups and cannot procreate with one another. Hence, these scattered populations today suffer a significant decrease. Because they are often confused for Nilgiri langurs, whose flesh is regularly sought because it is wrongly thought to have medicinal virtues, Lion tailed macaques are also at risk of being targeted for extinction. Other important issues include persecution as pest species owing to attacking crops.

Conservation

The Lion-tailed Macaque is one of the world’s most endangered animals, with just around 2,500 individuals left in the wild and 400 more in zoos. Also hunted for its meat and fur, just 1 percent of its native habitat exists – due to wood harvesting and agriculture – and as their population numbers continue to drop, Europe’s captive population now makes up 14 percent of the total group remaining on the globe.

Lion tailed macaque Facts

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Lion-tailed macaque
(Image Credit: Getty Images)
  • On their cheeks, around the lower teeth, these animals have extensile pouches that extend down the side of the neck and function as food storages while feeding.
  • Arboreal in nature, Lion tailed macaques, may often be seen. However, they are known to spend some time on the ground, generally playing and splashing in the water.
  • These primates receive a portion of the essential hydration by sucking dew off plants.
  • Lion tailed macaques may possess opposable first fingers or thumbs on their limbs, which aid them in climbing, eating, movement, grooming, and other tasks.
  • Because of its thick mane, this species is often referred to as the “beard ape.”
  • The Lion-tailed macaque is now one of the rarest macaque species. Moreover, this animal is the sole endangered macaque out of 21 species in its genus.
  • When detecting a predator or a person, this animal will stop at the top of a tree, where it resides.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Lion-tailed macaque
(Image Credit: Getty Images)

1. A lion tailed macaque is what kind of primate?

The lion-tailed macaque, Macaca silenus, is a kind of monkey.

2. What kind of animal does a lion-tailed macaque belong to?

The lion-tailed macaque, Macaca silenus, belongs to the class of mammals.

3. How many lion tailed macaques are there in the world?

The IUCN estimates the population of this species to be between 3000 and 3500. These species spread over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka in India. Because lion-tailed macaques breed effectively during captivity, there are currently 500 of them in zoos around the globe. In comparison, the population range of howler monkeys is roughly 100,000 in the wild.

4. Where does a lion-tailed macaque live?

Lion tailed macaques reside in tropical jungles in the south of India. Only the Western Ghats mountains in India make up the lion-tailed macaque habitat.

5. Who do lion-tailed macaques live with?

Lion tailed macaques are diurnal and arboreal. They travel in a family group of 10-20 persons or more than that. Although some groups include up to three adult males, there is generally simply one dominant male in charge of breeding.

6. How cute are they?

They are not particularly cute creatures. They are terrifying animals and should be avoided away from.

7. Are they dangerous?

These creatures often evade people if possible. Agricultural farms, including orchards, may be invaded by these macaques.

8. Would they make an excellent pet?

Lion-tailed macaques have become an endangered species, their habitat only being in the Western Ghats of Southern India, where they reside in the evergreen forest. The limited habitat should be as diverse to preserve a species that thrives in such a rich ecology. Maintaining such a massive pet at home in an appropriate setting is challenging.

Also Read: Finger Monkey (Pygmy mammoth)

Reference

https://www.neprimateconservancy.org/lion-tailed-macaque.html

https://apenheul.com/primates-abc/lion-tailed-macaque

https://animalia.bio/lion-tailed-macaque

https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/lion-tailed-macaque-facts

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