What kinds of monkeys live in Nepal?
If you visit Nepal, it’s only natural to ask yourself the above question. I mean, who doesn’t want to see monkeys!?
Luckily, there are quite a few species you should be able to find. So, keep reading to learn how to identify each primate. Plus, you are going to learn some fun and interesting facts. Pictures and range maps are also included!
4 monkey species that live in Nepal:
#1. Rhesus Macaque
- Macaca mulatta
Also known as the Rhesus Monkey.
- Adults are 47-53 cm (19-21 in) long, and their tails are 21-23 cm (8-9 in).
- They have bare pink faces and large ears.
- Their fur coats are pale auburn or grayish brown.
These monkeys in Nepal thrive in various habitats, from grasslands to wooded regions and tropical forests. If you’re lucky enough to come across a troop, you might see up to 200 individuals hanging out, even in urban areas. You’ll quickly notice that Rhesus Macaques are energetic and social! Always on the move, they love to play on the ground and in the trees. However, they become lazier during the hotter seasons.
When it’s snack time, these monkeys love to chow down on fruits, roots, bark, and even bugs! They’ve got cheek pouches that act like little food storage units. Just be wary of Rhesus Macaques that comb through garbage cans. They might be a little too comfortable around humans and try to snag your snacks!
Unfortunately, rival groups of these monkeys in Nepal tend to be violent. They’ll even attempt to kill each other upon their first meeting. Fighting within groups is also common. And once they’ve had a conflict, they tend to hold grudges for life!
#2. Assam Macaque
- Macaca assamensis
Also known as the Assamese Macaque.
- Adults are 51-74 cm (20-29 in) long, with 15-30 cm (6-12 in) tails.
- Their faces are pale and hairless.
- Their coats range from light gray to reddish brown. Pale-colored hair covers their chests and bellies.
You can find these monkeys in Nepal in groups of up to 50 individuals!
Assam Macaques love swinging among the branches, but occasionally, they take a break on the forest floor. They rarely travel, preferring to stay within their territories. Most of their days are spent foraging for food and resting.
These primates are flexible eaters. They love to chow down on fruit when it’s abundant, but otherwise, they turn to young leaves to fill their bellies. Sometimes, these monkeys steal wheat and corn from farms. Though they accept direct handouts from humans, be careful! Interacting with this species can spread disease.
Assam Macaque males leave their troop to find their own group when they reach maturity, like most other primate species. However, unlike other monkeys in Nepal, males actively help care for the little ones in their troops, even those they don’t share blood with.
#3. Himalayan Gray Langur
- Semnopithecus schistaceus
Also known as the Nepal Gray Langur or Nepal Sacred Langur.
- Adults are 51-79 cm (20-31 in) long with 69-102 cm (27-40 in) tails.
- Long white hair frames their deep black faces.
- They have brown-gray coats of fur with lighter undersides.
As their name suggests, these primates are endemic to the Himalayan region. They love to spend time on the ground and up among trees. Himalayan Gray Langurs pick out the highest branches to sleep on at night. They’re speedy runners that can leap a whopping five meters (16.4 feet) with their strong hind limbs!
These monkeys in Nepal enjoy munching on leaves, fruits, and insects.
Sometimes, they lick rocks and eat dirt to get their daily dose of salt and minerals. Interestingly, they often eat the leaves of strychnine trees, which are highly toxic. To counter that, these clever langurs eat gum from Kulu trees. It’s a natural laxative, eliminating the poison faster.
When it comes to socializing, female Himalayan Gray Langurs usually have good relationships. The males, on the other hand, can be unpredictable. One minute they’re all getting along, and the next, a fight could break out! But don’t worry; it’s all part of their playful nature.
#4. Northern Plains Grey Langur
- Semnopithecus entellus
Also known as the Sacred Langur, Bengal Sacred Langur, and Hanuman Langur.
- Adults are 45-78 cm (18-31 in) long with 80-112 cm (31-44 in) long tails.
- Swathes of light fur surround their black faces.
- They have silvery coats of hair that grow darker towards the back.
These monkeys in Nepal live in deciduous forests and shrublands, even hanging out in places where humans live. Northern Plains Grey Langurs travel in packs of 11 to 64, but large groups sometimes exceed a hundred. Females are affectionate with their troop members, while males are busier, fighting over mating privileges.
Don’t touch piles of bread and biscuits you might stumble upon! Locals associate Northern Plains Grey Langurs with the Hindu god Hanuman and leave food for them as offerings. With this kind of food security, they can breed all year round. Most times, however, these monkeys just eat leaves.
Amusingly, Northern Plains Grey Langurs look like they’re always in a hurry. They prefer running over walking, even while crossing high branches. As expert climbers, these monkeys can scale tall trees and structures without breaking a sweat. You might even spot one sleeping at the top of a telephone pole!
For more information about animals in Nepal, check out these guides:
Which of these monkeys in Nepal is your favorite?
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