Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

Japanese Macaque

The Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata), also known as the snow monkey, is a terrestrial Old World monkey species native to northern Japan. It has an introduced free-ranging population that has been living near Laredo, Texas since 1972. It is the most northern-living non-human primate. Individuals have brown-gray fur on hands and bottom. It has a red face and a short tail. There are two subspecies of this macaque.

Range and diet

The Japanese Macaque is daily and spends most of its time in forests. It lives in a variety of forest-types. These include subtropical to sub alpine, deciduous, broadleaf and evergreen forests. They are found below 4,921 ft (1500 m). It feeds on seeds, roots, buds, fruit, invertebrates, berries, leaves, bird eggs, fungi, bark and cereals. It has a body length ranging from 31.1 to 37.4 in (79 to 95 cm), with a tail length of approximately 3.94 in (10 cm). Males weigh from 22.05 to 30.87 lb (10 to 14 kg). The females are around 12.13 lb (5.5 kg).

The Japanese Macaque is the most northerly-living non-human primate, living in mountainous areas of Honshu, Japan. It survives winter temperatures below 5° F (-15 °C). It is perhaps most famous for the amount of time it spends relaxing in naturally heated volcanic hot springs.

Social organization and reproduction

The Japanese Macaque lives in troops 20 to 100 individuals in size usually subdivided into groups consisting of many females and several males. On average, females outnumber males by 3 to 1. The females have a rigid hierarchy with infants inheriting their mother’s rank. The males tend to be transient within the troop.

Females will copulate with an average of ten males during the mating season. Though pregnancies only occur during the mating season, heterosexual relations go on year-round. After a gestation period of 173 days, females bear only one baby. They weigh about 17.64 oz (500 g) at birth. This macaque has an average lifespan of 30 years.

Japanese Macaque