Certainly! Let’s delve into the fascinating world of **Japanese macaques**, also known as **snow monkeys**:

– **Scientific Name**: *Macaca fuscata*
– **Native Habitat**: Japan
– **Common Nickname**: “Snow Monkeys” due to their presence in areas where snow blankets the ground for months each year. No other non-human primate lives farther north or in a colder climate¹.

**Physical Characteristics**:
– **Size**: Japanese macaques have brownish-grey fur, pinkish-red faces, and short tails. Males weigh around 11.3 kg (25 lb), while females average 8.4 kg (19 lb). Their average height is approximately 57.0 cm (22.4 in) for males and 52.3 cm (20.6 in) for females.
– **Adaptations**: Their thick coat helps them cope with temperatures as low as −20 °C (−4 °F). They are semiterrestrial, with females spending more time in trees and males on the ground. Macaques are excellent swimmers, covering distances of over half a kilometer¹.

**Behavior and Social Structure**:
– **Group Living**: Japanese macaques live in matrilineal societies. Females remain in their natal groups for life, while males leave before sexual maturity.
– **Hierarchy**: Matrilines exist in dominance hierarchies, with higher-ranking groups having precedence over lower-ranking ones. Temporary all-male groups also form when individuals transition between groups¹.

**Fun Fact**:
– In Japan, these monkeys are known as **Nihonzaru** (a combination of *Nihon* meaning “Japan” and *saru* meaning “monkey”) to distinguish them from other primates. When Japanese people simply say “saru,” they usually refer to the Japanese macaque, as it is the only species of monkey native to Japan⁴.

If you ever visit Japan, witnessing these iconic snow monkeys bathing in hot thermal springs during frigid winter days is an unforgettable experience! 🐒❄️.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/5/2024
(1) Japanese macaque – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_macaque.
(2) Japanese Macaque – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures on Animalia.bio. https://animalia.bio/japanese-macaque.
(3) 6 of the best places to see wild monkeys in Japan. https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/area/jp/guide/NTJwide0037-en/.
(4) Where You Can See Japan’s Iconic Hot Spring Snow Monkeys – TheTravel. https://www.thetravel.com/where-to-see-snow-monkeys-in-japan/.
(5) Getty Images. https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/japanese-macaque-monkeys-huddle-together-in-snow-near-the-news-photo/96276210.

 

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