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Indian Lion-tailed macaques have tails resembling that of a lion. Know about the Lion-tailed macaque of India.

Lion Tailed Macaque

Lion-tailed Macaque is one of the subspecies of macaque, found only in the Western Ghats of South India. Known by the scientific name of Macaca silenus, it has life expectancy of 20 years in the wild and upto 30 years in captivity. Lion-tailed macaques spend most of their time on trees and are excellent swimmers.

Physical Traits
The coat of Lion-tailed macaque is covered with dark-brown or black fur. One of its unique features is its silver-white mane, which stretches on from the cheeks to the chin, while surrounding the head. This mane has led to the macaque being named as the 'Bear Ape' also. The face of Lion-tailed macaque of India is free from any hair and is black in color.

The entire length of the Lion-tailed macaque is somewhere between 45 and 60 cm. The tail is of a medium size and reaches a length of approximately 25 cm. At the end of the tail is a black tuft, resembling the tail of a lion. A male Lion-tailed macaque is slightly bigger than the female (5 kg) and weighs around 7 kg.

Lion Tailed Macaque Lion-tailed macaque is a diurnal creature and is quite good at climbing trees. It prefers to stay away from humans, unlike the other macaques. Lion-tailed macaques are sociable creatures and are seen mostly in groups. The group is a hierarchical one, consisting of ten to twenty members (both male and female). The leader of the group is a male macaque and the young males leave the group the moment they attain maturity. Lion-tailed macaques are territorial in nature and defend the area they believe to be theirs.

The diet of a Lion-tailed macaque comprises of indigenous fruits, leaves, buds, insects, small vertebrates and invertebrates. In case of shortage, they can turn to fruits, seeds, shoots, pith, flower, cone, mesocarp and other parts of many non-indigenous plants. In Indian zoos, they are given a diet of fruits, vegetables, sunflower seeds, granary bread, peanuts, maize and special primate dietary supplement pellets.

Mating Behavior
Lion-tailed macaque of India reaches the age of maturity 2.5 to 4 years after birth, depending upon its sex. Its mating period extends to the whole of the year. The gestation period is six months, after which a single young one is born.

Status and Threats
Lion-tailed macaques are one of the most rare as well as threatened primates. Presently, their population is estimated to be somewhere around 2,500. The greatest threat faced by Lion-tailed macaques is the deterioration of their natural habitat. Since they stay away from human settlements, this deterioration has led to a sharp decline in their number. At the same time, they are widely hunted for their meat and fur.

Natural Habitat
The natural habitat of the Lion-tailed macaque comprises of tropical dry forest and tropical rainforests of India.

Facts about Lion Tailed Macaque

Kingdom: Animalia
Scientific Name: Macaca silenus
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Macaca
Species: M. silenus
Diet: Fruits, leaves, small vertebrates and invertebrates
Natural Habitat: Tropical dry forest and tropical rainforest
Age of Maturity: 2.5 years to 4 years
Gestation Period: 6 months
Number of Offspring: One
Status: Endangered
Weight: Male - 7 kg
Female - 5 kg
Population: Less than 2,500
Found In: Western Ghats of South India