Thailand Monkeys: Long-tailed Macaques. Pics and Video
A Few Macaque Facts
There are several different kinds of macaques. The ones in this video are the kind most commonly found in SE Asia.
- Scientific name: Macaca fascicularis
- Sometimes called: Long tailed macaques, Crab eating macaques
- Various sub-species are found all over South East asia (see map)
Macaques live in rain forests, especially forest edges, mangroves and among nipa palm. They also tolerate human beings more than most wild animals. It is common to find them around temples in Thailand- when the monks accept their presence. You can also find them on the beaches in some tourist areas.
The most famous collection of monkeys sharing their lives with human beings in Thailand is in LopBuri. Numbers around the ancient temple grew to be so large (around 2,500 individuals) that the government was recently forced to introduce a sterilization program.
One of the reasons that monkeys are tolerated around temples is that many Thais see them as as messengers from Hanuman, the Monkey God. This is a Hindu tradition but Thai Buddhism includes many Chinese and Indian beliefs. In places like Lop Buri some monkeys will be cremated to help them be reincarnated as human beings.
Theft and Aggression
These monkeys can be aggressive and occasionally bite people. Their large canine teeth are bigger than the canines of many dogs. So care should always be exercised. If they are hungry they will not miss the opportunity to steal your bags, undo the zips, tear through your belongings and eat whatever is edible!
Around farms they can be a problem, stealing crops and even entering homes to take food.
Macaques eat fruit from the lower canopy of forests. In mangroves, they forage for crabs and other small animals. In tourist areas they often rely on food gifts. Sometimes, they beg or steal, especially if numbers are high and two or more troupes are in competition.
Pictures of my favorite monkeys from Hat Chao Mai National Park (map below).
How Did these Monkeys Steal our Bananas?
The same way they always steal something. They rush anyone who looks nervous with teeth bared and snatch whatever they can.
In this case it was my wife and a bag of food. I managed to save a bag of sandwiches and a couple of apples.