Lion-Tailed Macaque: Facts, Habitat & Locomotion

Instructor: Lauren Posey

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

Did you know baby lion-tailed macaques have especially soft hair? In this lesson you will learn more interesting facts about the lion-tailed macaque, including their habitat and method of locomotion.

Soft As a Baby

Have you ever touched a baby's head? What about a kitten or a puppy? One thing these different babies have in common is they have super soft hair or fur, which changes as they get older. Did you know this is true for some monkey species as well? Take the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), for example. They have very soft fur all over their bodies when they are born. However, after they are about two months old they get their adult coat, which is not as soft, just as humans have less soft hair as adults.

Visual Appeal

Lion-tailed macaques get their name from their skinny tails, which have a tuft of fur at the end just like a lion's tail. These monkeys have long gray manes of fur around their faces, which is also very lion-like. Other than the mane, lion-tailed macaques are mostly black, sometimes with light-colored bellies. Unlike lions, the macaques are quite small. They only grow to about two feet long, not including their tail, and they weigh around 20-25 pounds.

Lion-tailed macaques have gray manes
Lion-tailed macaque 1

Communication is Key

Lion-tailed macaques typically live in groups of 10-20 members, led by one dominant male. Female macaques stay with their natal group, the group they are born in, but males often leave and spend part of their lives in an all-male group before trying to join a new male-female group.

Lion-tailed macaques have a wide range of communication, both for within a group and between different groups. Vocal communication is a major aspect of their lives. They have 17 different calls! This includes a warning call letting intruding macaques know they are trespassing.

Lion-tailed macaques also use body language, particularly for communicating within a group. What if you greeted other people by smacking your lips at them? That's what lion-tailed macaques do!

Location, Location, Location

This species is found in the Western Ghats mountains of India. Their preferred habitat is primary tropical forest, which is a type of forest that has never been disturbed by humans. Specifically, they live high up in the trees, in the upper canopy of the forest. They also sometimes live in disturbed, or secondary forest, and can sometimes even be seen in cultivated areas, such as human-planted fruit trees.

Unfortunately, much of their native habitat is being transformed into farmland. This is a significant part of the reason lion-tailed macaques are endangered. The farms cut up the forest into isolated sections, which makes it difficult for females to find new males to mate with.

Lion-tailed macaques are endangered
Lion-tailed macaque eating

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