Japanese Macaque

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Primates Cercopithecidae Macaca Macaca fuscata
Japanese Macaque
IUCN Status: Least-Concern
  • Common Names: Japanese Macaque, Snow Monkey
  • Taxonomy Classification Year: 1875
  • Monkey Size: 52.28 to 57.01 cm (20.58 to 22.44 in)
  • Skin Color(s): Brownish gray, yellowish brown
  • Habitat: Forest, mountains
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Native Countries: Japan

Japanese Macaque Distribution

Japanese Macaque Characteristics

Japanese Macaque

The Japanese macaque[1] (Macaca fuscata), also called the snow monkey, is a terrestrial Old World species of monkeys endemic to Japan.

Japanese Macaque

  • They are colloquially known as “snow monkeys” because some live in areas where snow blankets the ground for months each year.
  • No other nonhuman primate lives further north or in a colder climate. Japanese macaques range in color from shades of gray and brown to yellowish brown.
  • They have colorful faces and pinkish-red rumps. Their fur is very thick, which helps them stay warm during harsh winters as they don’t hibernate.
  • These Japanese monkeys have short, stumpy tails. In addition, Japanese macaques exhibit sexual dimorphism; males are typically larger and taller than females.
  • Males weigh an average of 11.3 kg and measure 57 cm. Females weigh an average of 8.4 kg and measure 52.3 cm.

What Do Japanese Macaques Eat?

What Do Japanese Macaques Eat?

The Japanese Macaque feeds on these plants[¶]:

  • Persimmons (Diospyros)
  • Marlberry (Ardisia)
  • Red Bayberry (Morella rubra).
  • Sea Bilberry (Vaccinium bracteatum).
  • Sakaki (Cleyera japonica)
  • Tara Vine (Actinidia arguta).

Japanese Macaque Facts

Japanese Macaque

  • There appears to be a correlation between the body weight of Japanese macaques and the weather.
  • Japanese macaques from southern regions generally weigh less than those in northern regions of higher altitudes, where there is more snow during the winter months.
  • Japanese macaques are terrestrial and arboreal and are mainly quadrupedal on the forest floor. However, they are diurnal as well.
  • These macaques live in troops with a female-centric social structure.
  • Hierarchical classifications are essential for the social structure of Japanese macaques. For example, high-ranking individuals have access to food first, so lower-ranking women generally eat less nutritious foods.
  • Individuals emit a high-pitched voice when a predator is seen to alert other group members.

Macaca Fuscata

Suggested Reading: Different Breeds of Monkeys

Cite This Page

BioExplorer.net. (2023, September 27). Japanese Macaque. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/japanese-macaque/.
BioExplorer.net. "Japanese Macaque" Bio Explorer, 27 September 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/japanese-macaque/.
BioExplorer.net. "Japanese Macaque" Bio Explorer, September 27 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/animals/mammals/monkeys/japanese-macaque/.
Key References
  • [1]“Blue Planet Biomes – Japanese Macaque”. Accessed September 24, 2022. Link.
  • [¶] – Fricke, E.C., Svenning, J. Accelerating homogenization of the global plant-frugivore meta-network. Nature 585, 74-78 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2640-y.
  • [¶] – fgabriel1891/Plant-Frugivore-Interactions-SouthEastAsiaAlbert A. Hambuckers A. Culot, L. Savini, T. Huynen, M.C. 2013. Frugivory and Seed Dispersal by Northen Pigtailed Macaques (Macaca leonina), in Thailand. Int. J. Primatology 34:170-193


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