Japanese Macaque

Macaca fuscata fuscata

Scientific Name

Japanese Macaque:  
Macaca fuscata fuscata

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

These monkeys may be found on the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.  They live further north than any primate, with the exception of man.

Natural Habitat

The snow monkey inhabits forested mountain slopes and sparsely populated hilly regions.

Physical Characteristics

  • Snow monkeys are Old World monkeys (possess a non-prehensile tail and nostrils closer together).  They are most known for their red, hairless face with low brow ridges.  These monkeys may weigh as much as 30 pounds and have a body length of 21 inches.  They are the largest of the macaques.  Their bodies are covered in thick fur that ranges in color from grey to brown. Their fur serves as insulation against the cold winters where temperatures may reach minus five degrees Celsius.  They spend a good deal of time sunbathing, huddling together, sleeping and bathing in hot springs.

Quick Facts

  1. Snow monkeys play a special role in mythology, folklore and art in Japan.  Most familiar are the three monkeys which represent the wisdom of Buddha: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.

  2. Both parents and other adults share the role of raising infants.


Vanishing Animals South

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Japanese Macaque is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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In the wild, their primary food source is fruit but they will also eat leaves, flowers, seeds and insects.  In human care they receive primate chow along with fruits and vegetables.