Formosan Rock Macaque: Habitat, Diet & Facts

Instructor: Lauren Posey

Lauren has taught intermediate reading in an English Language Institute, and she has her Master's degree in Linguistics.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the Taiwanese monkey known as the Formosan rock macaque. We'll take a look at their habitat and diet, as well as some interesting facts.

Formosan Rock Monkeys

When you go to the grocery store, you usually use bags to carry out your food, right? Imagine if you carried it in your cheeks! There are several different animals that have special pouches in their cheeks for storing food. Chipmunks and squirrels are the most well-known of these, but some monkeys have them, too. One example is the Formosan rock macaque (Macaca cyclopis). These monkeys have cheek pouches that they use like we might use a bag or a pocket. When they are out foraging, or searching for food, they put extra food in these pouches. Then they can take the food back to their shelters to eat in peace, where they are in less danger from predators.

Formosan rock macaques have cheek pouches like chipmunks
Formosan rock macaque


Formosan rock macaques are endemic, or native, to Taiwan, an island country off the coast of China. These monkeys live mostly in forested areas, including temperate forests and bamboo forests. They also sometimes live in grassland areas, and they don't actually require trees in their habitat. They can climb trees, but they spend most of their time on the ground, so they have no trouble in treeless habitats.

This species can be found all over Taiwan, but they are far less common in coastal areas than they used to be. This is because humans tend to settle along coastlines, and these settlements have pushed the monkeys further inland.

Formosan rock macaques are native to Taiwan
Taiwan map


Since they live in a variety of habitats, it makes sense that Formosan rock macaques have a varied diet. In fact, they are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They eat fruit, seeds, and leaves, but also insects and sometimes small animals like lizards or mice. In addition, Formosan rock macaques are not afraid of humans and will go into crop fields to forage for food. Farmers will sometimes kill macaques they find in their fields, even though these monkeys are legally protected.

Interesting Facts

Family Life

Formosan rock macaques used to live in large groups of around 45 members. However, since their numbers have declined somewhat, their groups are smaller in some areas, with less than 10 members.

Female Formosan rock macaques give birth to one baby at a time, every year or every other year depending on their age. Younger females give birth less often than older females. Their gestation period, or how long they carry the baby before giving birth, is about five and a half months.

Baby rock monkeys stop nursing after about a year, but they are still dependent on their mother until they are two years old. In some cases, the babies maintain a family relationship with their mother throughout their whole lives, even after they are independent; just like humans! This is especially true for females, who do not leave their birth groups.


These monkeys use both visual and vocal communication to keep in touch with their group or call out warnings. When non-group members come near, Formosan rock macaques will scream, possibly warning the intruder away, or warning group members that a stranger is nearby.

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