The Monkeys

The Don Chao Poo Forest shelters a population of about 800 long-tailed macaques.

Physical description

Mass                    males : 4.8 to 7 kg  /  females : 3 to 4 kg
Length                  40 to 47 cm
Tail length             50 to 60 cm

The body fur of long-tailed macaques tends to be grey-brown to reddish brown. Some have a yellowish tinge. The chest and stomach are paler and often have a bluish-white tinge.
A characteristic of long-tailed macaques is their cheek pouch. Monkeys can store food in the pouch to eat later. This is very useful if there is a shortage of food, or if there is competition for food. Many of the monkeys in Don Chao Poo have a crest on the top of their head.

The crest

The crest

The cheek

The cheek pouch

 

 

Life in Don Chao Poo

Long-tailed macaques are arboreal animals. Trees provide safety for them as well as food. But the monkeys are also at home on the ground and spend time there if they feel safe.

Visitors to Don Chao Poo feed the monkeys with some of their favourite food. Phana Municipality regularly provides unhusked rice for them. This is spread out and there is enough for all the monkeys without any competition or fighting.

Long-tailed macaques are omnivorous. they eat crabs, small mammals, insects, leaves, flower pollen, seeds, fruit and grains. they need plenty of water too.

 

Social behaviours

  • Physical contact between animals is a part of most friendly interactions in primates. A very important one is social grooming. When animals groom, they look through the fur and remove any debris they found such as dirt, dead skin or parasites.

Social grooming not only helps animals keep clean, it reinforces bonds between related animals and other members of a social group. In a group of monkeys, mothers groom their infants, females groom males, males groom females and older offspring groom their mother : all combinations of grooming partners are possible.

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  • Long-tailed macaques live in groups of about thirty members.
    Females stay in their birth-groups but at sexual maturity, males leave their birth-group and join either bachelor groups or new social groups. Since males leave their birth-group, they are subjected to more predation, disease and injury than females are. Once a male finds another group to live, he may replace some of the existing high-ranking males. Male replacement is a process in which an adult male from outside the group successfully takes over a resident male’s harem position.

These events are highly aggressive activities. The adults who take part are usually injured. They are rarely killed but often die later from their injury.