SNOW MONKEYS: BEHAVIORS TO OBSERVE
The Japanese macaques have some peculiar behavior characteristics they show to the public. Below you will find some of the distinguishing features of the monkeys.
Just like humans, almost all the communication between the monkeys is non-verbal. Facial expression and body-language make up most of the communication between the snow monkeys. The snow monkeys do sometimes express themselves verbally by screaming or calling. The loudness and tone give the call the emotion. The yelling however, is often a signal of threat.
One thing you commonly see with the snow monkeys is them grooming each other. This is for hygienic reasons, like removing lice, dandruff and any other unwanted things, but it also has a definite social and dietary meaning attached to it. The monkeys are paying attention to each other by the grooming thus fulfilling their societal needs. By consuming the lice and other insects stuck in the fur, they get the much needed protein.
When you see snow monkeys mounting one another it is not for the reason of getting the female pregnant. Males mount each other in order to assert their authority over other males. The lower-ranking males will not protest the mounting to show their superior that they are not hostile. The mounting is another form of communication between the monkeys, like the grooming.
There are plenty of quarrels between the monkeys. There is a definite ranking system which dictates what one’s place is in the monkey world but sometimes snow monkeys want to get ahead in the pecking order. Rising in rank and ascertaining authority over the other are the main reasons for fights between the Japanese macaques.
Monkeys love sunbathing. They warm themselves by laying with their backs on the ground and exposing their bellies to the sun. This is a favorite pastime in winter for the monkeys who don’t like getting wet but do like getting warm.
The Japanese macaques display a lot of human-like behavior. One of the most humanly things they do is creating snowballs. They gather lumps of snow in a ball and carry the ball around, sometimes to the envy of other monkeys who try to steal it.
Young monkeys are incredibly playful and this shows with them wrestling every day all day. Even the midst of winter you will find infants roughhousing it up, sometimes to the dismay of their mother. The wrestling could, especially in the case of males, end up in wounds and screaming as they are not really careful in their playfulness.
The facial expressions used during play-fighting are the same used in the more serious altercations. However, the younglings do not scream and shout which does happen when a real fight is going on.
Onsen (hot spring)
The thing the Japanese macaques are most famous for is their tendency to sit in the hot bath when it is freezing. They escape the wintery cold by soaking up the warmth of the water. Unlike humans, the monkey have few sweat glands. This enables them to preserve the warmth of the hot water for much longer than humans would be able to do.
To learn more about the food that they eat, click here!
To learn more about their physical characteristics, click here!
To learn more about the love and childcare, click here!
To learn more about their social life, click here!