Hanuman Langur is believed to be one of the Old World monkeys, belonging to the Semnopithecus Genus. They comprise of 15 subspecies and are terrestrial in nature. Earlier hanuman langurs were believed to comprise of a single species. However, now they are recognized as seven distinct species. Hanuman langur is also known by the name of Gray Langur, Entellus Langur and Common Indian Langur.
The fur of the gray langur of India may be gray, dark brown or even
golden in color. The face is black and the size varies from one
subspecies to another. Male langurs grow to a length of 51 cm to 78 cm
and weigh about 18 kg. The female langurs are smaller, with a length of
40 cm to 68 cm and weight of about 11 kg. The length of the tail is
between 69 cm and 101 cm.
Connection with Indian Mythology
Gray langur of India is believed to have derived its other name,
Hanuman Langur, from the Hindu Monkey-god, Hanuman. It is said that the
langurs helped Lord Hanuman in the battle of Lanka. It was during this
time that the monkey god got trapped in the fire. This episode resulted
in the black face of the langurs, since they got burnt while helping the
Lord. Hindus regard the Entellus Langurs of India as sacred and do not
assault them at all.
Common Indian langurs survive on a diet comprising of leaves, fruit,
buds and flowers. The exact diet, however, changes from season to
season. During winters, they survive on a diet of mature leaves. In
summer season, they mainly survive on fruits. Insects, tree bark and gum
also supplement their diet. Hanuman langurs can easily digest seeds with
high levels of the toxins and can eat even soil and stones.
Hanuman langurs are found inhabiting tropical, dry thorn scrub, pine
and alpine forest as well as urban areas of the Indian subcontinent.
They spent a major portion of their time on the ground, with the
exception of their sleeping time. Presently, common langurs are found in
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma.
Gray langur of India can usually be found living in large groups,
dominated by a male langur. The membership of the group may be anywhere
between 11 and 60. However, they hold the dominating position for a very
short period only, which may stretch upto 18 months. Whenever a new male
takes over the group, all the infants of the previous alpha male are
killed. Entellus Langurs of India may form bachelor groups also.
Female langurs attain maturity at 3 to 4 years of age, while males
achieve the same in 4 to 5 years. However, they start mating in the 6th
or 7th year only. The gestation period is 190 to 210 days, after which a
single infant is born. Only in very rare cases does a female langur give
birth to two infants. Where there are a number of males in a group, only
the high-ranking males can mate with any female. The other males get a
chance to mate only if they manage to sneak by the high-ranking males.
Common Indian langur is listed in the lower risk category by the IUCN
Species of Gray Langur